I received a recommended approval from the asylum office. Can I apply for work authorization now?
Yes. If you have received a recommended approval, you are immediately eligible to apply for work authorization (known as an employment authorization document, or EAD).
A recommended approval is not a grant of asylum yet because the government still has to complete running background and security checks. The time this can take can vary greatly—from a few weeks to over a year.
Because you have not yet been granted asylum, you cannot apply for an EAD in the same category as approved asylees, but rather your asylum application is still pending or processing. Usually, your asylum application has to be pending for 150 days before you can apply for employment authorization. However, if you already received a recommended approval before the 150 days are up, you do not have to wait any longer to apply.
After applying, you will have to wait for the USCIS to issue your EAD. This recently has been subject to lengthy delays, but very recently a U.S. District Court ordered that the USCIS follow its regulations and issue EADs for people with pending asylum applications within 30 days.
If you were actually granted asylum (rather than receive a recommended approval) there is no need to apply for an EAD. It will be issued automatically to you under the category for approved asylees. If you have any questions about the asylum application process, please contact us. We are here to help. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Tumblr for up-to-date immigration news.
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