Asylum Application Deadline Extended for Some Asylum Seekers

February 10, 2021

Good news: Asylum seekers who were detained when they arrived in the United States and not told by the government that they must file their asylum applications within one year of arriving recently won an extension to the deadline. Also, the government created a process for asylum seekers whose cases are not yet in immigration court to file their asylum applications. These changes happened because of a court case called Mendez Rojas v. Wolf.

This extension to the one-year filing deadline only applies to a particular group of asylum seekers, known as the “Mendez Rojas class.”

You may be a Mendez Rojas class member if:

  1. you were detained when you came to the United States, and
  2. you passed an interview about your fear to return to your country or told an immigration officer you were afraid to return to your country, and
  3. the government gave you a Notice to Appear in immigration court on or after June 30, 2016, and
  4. you were not told by immigration officers that you had to apply for asylum within one year before you were released from detention.

If it has been a year or more since you came to the U.S. and you have not submitted your asylum application, it is important that you notify the government if you think you belong to the Mendez Rojas class. If you are in this situation, you now have until April 22, 2022 to file your asylum application and notify the government that the Mendez Rojas extension applies in your case. You can talk to an immigration attorney about your specific case.

You may also receive this notice from the government about the Mendez Rojas lawsuit. You do not need to respond to this notice.

Here is how you can notify the government:

  • If you have a hearing scheduled in immigration court, you can tell the judge at your next hearing that you believe you are a member of the Mendez Rojas class. Or, you can write a letter to submit with your asylum application. If you have already filed your asylum application, you should still send a letter to the court. Note: If your next hearing is after April 22, 2022, you should send a letter to the court before April 22, 2022.
  • If your case is on appeal at the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) you can send a letter notifying the BIA that you believe you are a member of the Mendez Rojas class.
  • If your case does not appear on the automated case information hotline, you received a Notice to Appear, and you have not filed your asylum application, you can submit your application by mail to the agency USCIS. In this case, USCIS will send your application to the immigration court where you will then have a hearing.
  • If you previously had immigration court hearings or an appeal at the BIA, but your case is now closed, talk to a lawyer about whether you might be able to open your case as a Mendez Rojas class member.

Please note: the extension only applies to individuals who are members of the Mendez Rojas class. In general, asylum seekers must file their asylum applications within one year of arriving to the United States. If you filed your asylum application before your one-year filing deadline, you do not need to send or submit a letter or notice to the government.

Useful links:

  • You can call 1-800-898-7180 or visit this website and enter your A number to find out if your case has been filed in immigration court. See this resource for more detail.
  • You can use these sample letters to notify the immigration court and the BIA that you believe you are a Mendez Rojas class member.
  • You can find the correct USCIS address to send your asylum application here.
  • You can find the address for your immigration court here.
  • You can find the address of the BIA here.
  • Here is an example of a Notice to Appear.

For more information and resources from the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) visit our website.

Note: This information is for individuals seeking asylum in the United States and is not a substitute for advice from an attorney.