This resource page is for asylum seekers. The information provided on this page is not legal advice or a substitution for legal advice. Please consult an immigration attorney as soon as possible about your individual case. The information provided is to provide some clarity because seeking asylum in the United States is a complicated process with specific deadlines and steps.
Below, we go through situations and provide information on best practices for navigating the asylum process in the United States until you are able to obtain an immigration attorney. We are providing information about commonly asked questions about court hearings, to change-of-address, to the rights you have with the purpose of providing you with information and resources that can help you understand the asylum-seeking process. Again, this is not legal advice, so please consult with an immigration attorney about your case. Please use the following links for information in Español or Kreyòl Ayisyen.
Asylum Seekers -What you should know
ATTEND ALL OF YOUR APPOINTMENTS WITH ICE
You should attend ALL of your meetings with ICE if they give you a check-in date and time. If all of your family members were given check-in dates including children, they must attend as well. If you do not attend these meetings, it is within ICE’s discretion to detain you at a detention center for the duration of your immigration process. However, if you are released on bond set by the immigration judge, it is likely that you will not have to go to meetings with ICE in addition to your immigration court hearings. Please check your court documentation to see if the immigration judge added any conditions to your release. If so, you must comply with all those conditions. If not, you may be returned to a detention center for the remainder of our immigration process. Remember ICE appointments are different from the immigration court hearings. You must attend both.
ATTEND ALL OF YOUR COURT HEARINGS
You may not have a court date with the immigration court scheduled yet. It is your responsibility to check your mail for court notices. So, it is vital to make sure that the court has your correct mailing address. Also, you can get your court date information from the EOIR hotline number or on the internet via the EOIR Portal. (See below for instructions) If your spouse and/or children are in immigration proceedings, you must check their individual Alien Registration number (A #), as they can have a different court date, time and sometimes location than you. If you do not appear on the day of your hearing at court, the judge will follow through with the case without you and it is very likely that the judge will order you removed for missing the hearing. This type of deportation is called an in absentia order of removal. If you receive an absentia order of removal, please contact an immigration attorney immediately.
HOW TO FIND INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR NEXT IMMIGRATION COURT HEARING DATE AND LOCATION
There are two ways to find out information about your immigration court hearing date, time, and location. You can either call the EOIR automated system or via EOIR Portal on the internet.
HOW TO USE THE EOIR AUTOMATED SYSTEM
First dial the EOIR Automated system at 800-898-7180. There are only two language options to choose from in the system, which are English or Spanish. For English, press one (1). For Spanish, two (2). If you are not fluent in English or Spanish, you will need someone who is fluent in either language to assist you.. You must provide your Alien Registration Number (A#), also known as your A number, to get the information. Remember to check all the A#’s in your family as they can have a different court date including children
Also, you can access your court information via the internet. Click here EOIR PORTAL. Once you agree to the terms, you will be taken to another page on their website. Once on the new page, you will click on the link called “Automated Case Information”. There you will put your A# in the system. Remember, you must check the A# of every member of your family because they can have a different court date and time than you.
Both services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can check on your case any time. If your court hearing is not scheduled, you should check for your upcoming hearing in the system at least once a week until your hearing has been scheduled. Remember, you are responsible for making sure that you attend all of your court hearings, even if you do not have an attorney to represent you by the time of the hearing. You can always ask the immigration judge for more time to find an attorney to represent you. If you or any member of your family fails to attend their court date, the immigration judge can sign a Final Order of Deportation in absentia, which terminates the pending immigration case and authorizes ICE to remove either you or your family members that did not attend court from the United States.
If the system indicates that your next hearing is still in Texas and you no longer reside there, please speak with a lawyer as soon as possible so that they can assist in requesting your case to be moved to an immigration court closest to your new home. This petition is called a Motion to Change Venue. If the court receives and approves the motion to change venue, the court will send you a notice by mail. Remember you are responsible for informing both the immigration court and ICE if you move to a new residence. Please see below on how to send a change of address to the immigration court and ICE.
SEND IN A CHANGE OF ADDRESS TO ICE AND EOIR IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOU MOVE
If you move, you must notify both the court and ICE within five days of moving. You will need to submit a form EOIR-33IC to the immigration court and give a copy to ICE. You must also send a form called an AR-11 form to the immigration benefits agency called USCIS. Everyone who is not a citizen is required to send form AR-11 to USCIS when they move. If you do not notify the court and ICE of a change of address it can cause serious consequences in your immigration case because immigration will send important mail to the address that you last gave them. If you miss an important notice because you did not update your address, you will be responsible and you may face deportation.
YOU MUST TURN IN YOUR ASYLUM APPLICATION WITHIN ONE YEAR AFTER ENTERING THE UNITED STATES!
You must file your application for asylum, I-589, within one year from the date you entered the United States. If you do not submit your I-589 within one year, you are automatically barred from seeking asylum relief. If you are past the deadline, please find an immigration attorney to assist you with your case, because there are limited exceptions to the 1-year bar rule.
The application must be written in English. Also, any and all evidence that you attached in support of your application must be in English or have an English translation. Evidence that is not in English or lacks an English translation usually will not be accepted by the Court. It is critical that you have an immigration attorney guide you through the process of filling out and filing your application, with the recent changes to the asylum application.
BEGIN THE PROCESS OF APPLYING FOR ASYLUM
You must file an application for asylum within one (1) years from the date you entered into the United States.
If you were detained and issued a Notice to Appear (NTA), you are required to apply for asylum defensively. To file a defensive asylum application, you must file with the immigration court. If you do not have a scheduled court date before your one (1) year date of entry, you must file it with the immigration court where your case is being heard. It does not matter that you are still awaiting a court date, the application must be submitted before the one (1) year date. Please consult an immigration attorney to assist you with filing your defensive asylum application. Again, it is your responsibility to attend all court proceedings and meet immigration law deadlines for applications.
If you were released and not issued an NTA, you are able to apply for asylum affirmatively. To file an affirmative asylum application, you must file it with USCIS within one (1) year from the date you entered the United States. Please consult with an immigration attorney to assist you with the filing of your affirmative asylum application. Remember, it is your responsibility to attend all court proceedings and meet immigration law deadlines for applications.
While you have the right to be represented by a lawyer, the court will not provide a free lawyer. It is very important to find a qualified and licensed lawyer who can help you understand your legal options and can represent you in immigration court. To ensure you are meeting with a licensed attorney, you can ask them for their bar number. Remember that although it is very beneficial to have a lawyer, it is not required to have a lawyer or qualified representative (DOJ Accredited), and you should always appear at court hearings even if you do not have a lawyer representing you.
To find a lawyer outside of Texas, please call:
National Asylum Helpline at 612-746-4674 from 9AM to 4PM Monday through Friday. The National Asylum Helpline helps asylum applicants find free legal services and immigration lawyers near you. If you call, they will give you the name and number of organizations that offer legal services and could help you. You can also visit these websites: https://www.ailalawyer.com, https://www.immigrationadvocates.org/legaldirectory/, and https://www.immigrationlawhelp.org to search for an immigration lawyer.
NO TO NOTARIES
You should know that in the US, notaries and immigration consultants are not lawyers. They can cause serious problems in immigration cases that can negatively impact your case. They will charge you money and they do not have legal permission to represent your immigration case, so they will not appear at court with you. More importantly, any and all mistakes on your applications caused by a notary usually will not be allowed to be corrected by the Court, which means you are stuck with their mistakes . On the other hand, all licensed lawyers are required to accompany their clients to court after accepting a case and all of their mistakes can be corrected. Please seek out legal advice and representation from a licensed immigration attorney.
YOUR RIGHTS AND BENEFITS
In the United States, all children have the right to go to school, even if they do not have residency or legal immigration status. Depending on which state you will live in, it is possible that you or your child can receive health benefits. IF you leave under an “Order of Supervision,” you can also apply for a permit to work in the United States while your case is being processed by immigration court. Please contact a social services agency, religious organization, or lawyer with questions about your children’s school, health benefits, and work permits.
If you would like more information on social services in your local area, please call RAICES’ Canopy Hotline: 800-437-3071 (CALL or TEXT). Canopy is a national hotline aimed to connect migrants to valuable social services in their local area. Canopy intends to go beyond simply sending their callers a list of resources. Their objective is to provide a soft handover to immigrant friendly agencies in an effort to reduce barriers commonly experienced by the community.
CANOPY HOTLINE: 800-437-3071 (CALL or TEXT)
YOU CANNOT WORK OR DRIVE WITH A PERMIT OR A LICENSE
In the United States, you are not allowed to work or drive without government authorization. You must obtain an employment authorization from the USCIS. Please consult an immigraton attorney to see if you are eligible for a work permit.
You must have a State-issued driver’s license to drive legally in the United States. Each State has its own laws regarding who is eligible to apply for a license to drive. Please consult your State’s Department of Motor Vehicles to determine whether or not you qualify to apply for a license to drive.
To be clear, it is illegal to work or drive in the United States without a permit or a license. If you are caught working or driving illegally, ICE has the discretion to return you to a detention center for the remainder of your immigration process.
FAMILY OR FRIENDS OF DETAINED ASYLUM SEEKERS
To locate someone who has been detained by ICE, use ICE’s online detainee locator website.You will need to have their A-number or first name, last name, and date of birth. Once you know where your family or friend is detained it’s important to know that there are no free calls to family or friends. Each detention center has a distinct company and process for the person to receive funds to make calls. Please look to the website of that particular detention facility for more information.
If you believe your family member or friend is still in CBP custody, it may be more complicated in being able to communicate with them.
If your family member arrived in the United States as an unaccompanied minor (UAC) and you are trying to locate them, please call the Office of Refugee Resettlement, at the ORR National Call Center at (800) 203-7001, or email [email protected]. If you have located the minor child but need assistance with your sponsorship information, please contact VECINA at 855-480-1299, for assistance.