Starting January 29, 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has changed how it will schedule asylum interviews. Currently, there is a processing backlog of 2 – 3 years, meaning that upon filing your I-589 application for asylum, you would then have additional time to accumulate evidence related to your claim, including obtaining documents from your home country, undergoing medical evaluations, gathering evidence of country conditions, and all other corroborating evidence that is needed for a strong and successful asylum application. This is no longer the case!
USCIS is now prioritizing cases filed within the past 3 weeks. This means that if you filed an application for asylum in January 2018, you should be prepared to go to your interview very soon. The asylum offices are prioritizing cases that needed to be rescheduled, but then after that will begin interviewing these most recently filed cases and then work backward.
This has major implications:
If you filed for asylum recently, you should begin accumulating additional evidence as soon as possible. As we all know, it takes a lot of time to get documents that corroborate why you fear returning to your country. Do not wait! Your interview may be occurring much sooner than you may have initially anticipated.
If you have not yet filed for asylum, do not do so until you have as much supporting documentation as possible. Given these new guidelines, the goal is for you to be scheduled for an interview within 3 weeks. Unless the one-year-filing deadline is approaching, hold off on submitting the I-589 until you have as strong and complete of an application as possible!
If you were waiting for an interview and expected it to happen soon, unfortunately, you will have to wait even longer. The USCIS will be scheduling interviews now starting with those most recently filed and going backward. Your wait may increase by years. Please note that you are still eligible to file for extensions of work authorization during this time.
It is important to inform anyone you know who may have filed for asylum of this change because they may not be prioritizing the need to gather all necessary evidence due to their previous expectations of how long it would take for an interview to be scheduled. Interview notices are normally sent just a few weeks prior to your interview so you have to get ready now if you recently filed an application.
If you are affected by this development and would like information about the process, please contact us. We are here to help. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Tumblr for up-to-date immigration news.
Rasoulpour Torregoza is the law firm for immigrants, by immigrants. We are founded on the motto of LegalEase: we do away with the legal jargon and make law easy to understand, so you can focus on what’s important to you – going for your American Dream.
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