This is a question we are often asked at  That is, can a person can work in the United States after applying for asylum. The simple answer is, not immediately, but yes, an asylum seeker can work in the U.S., after meeting certain conditions set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


Asylum is a form of protection granted to individuals who have arrived in the United States (U.S.) and who credibly fear persecution in their home country based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Once an individual has applied for asylum, they must wait approximately 150-days after the USCIS receives their completed asylum application before they can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as a “work permit.”  If the asylum application remains pending after 180-days, counting from the 150-day mark, the applicant becomes eligible to receive a work permit while waiting for a decision on their asylum status.  However, it should be noted, these waiting periods only apply if the asylum application is not acted upon (i.e. decided) by the USCIS. If, on the other hand, the application is granted, the individual becomes an asylee and is immediately authorized to work.

Many clients often ask, why is there a 150-day waiting period in the first place? The reason is because the government doesn’t want people coming to the United States for economic reasons instead of those reasons (i.e. race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group) that would normally support asylum. In other words, the waiting period is a way of discouraging economic migration.  The processing time also allows USCIS sufficient time to properly investigate, assess and process asylum applications.

The process to apply for an EAD involves submitting a Form I-765 or “Application for Employment Authorization,” to USCIS.  An EAD is typically granted for the same duration as the applicant’s immigration status and must be renewed periodically to continue working in the United States.

Applying for asylum is not an easy process.  However, with the right lawyer, it can be made less stressful than it might otherwise be. It’s estimated that only around 28% of all asylum applications are granted.  For this reason, it is very important to get the best immigration lawyer you can afford. The process for applying for asylum requires convincing an immigration judge that you have a credible basis to fear if you are forced to return to your home country. Just telling the judge you’re afraid is not enough. There has to be proof to show the government and the judge that what you’re alleging makes sense and is supported by credible facts.  On this point, having a lawyer that understands the law is also not enough. An asylum seeker will also want a lawyer that can put together a compelling “case” in support of asylum by thoroughly investigating your situation and compiling information to show that your fears are legitimate.  Sometimes, this might even require hiring an expert to testify on your behalf.  It all comes down to what you can document to support your case for asylum.

At, our legal team is highly-knowledgeable and experienced.  We are well-equipped to represent your interests in any area of immigration law. With the latest technology at our disposal, we can represent you anywhere in the United States, including, of course, in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix. Don’t hesitate, get in touch with us today.  Let us help you navigate the immigration system and provide you outstanding legal representation. We know the law, we care about our clients and we know what it takes to win.

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