If you are past the one year deadline to apply for asylum, you may still be able to apply. An important deadline is coming up on April 22, 2022!

February 2, 2022

If you want to apply for asylum, the best thing to do is to submit your asylum application (Form I-589) within one year of arriving in the United States. But if you have already been in the United States for more than one year, you might still be able to apply! For example, some asylum seekers can apply for asylum by April 22, 2022 even if they missed the one-year deadline.

If your situation fits one of the exceptions explained below, you may still be able to apply for asylum, even if you have been in the United States for longer than one year.

  • Immigration officials at the border did not tell you about the one-year deadline. If you were detained at the border, the immigration officials should have explained that you needed to apply for asylum within one year. If they did not explain this to you, you may be able to apply for asylum even if one year or longer has passed. This is because of a court case called Mendez Rojas. If you are in this situation, you may be able to file your asylum application and tell the government that Mendez Rojas applies in your case. You must do this by April 22, 2022. Learn more about whether you might qualify and how to apply here.
  • You are under 18 years old. In many cases, if you are under 18 years old, you may be able to apply for asylum even if you have been in the United States for more than a year. Read more about applying for asylum as a child.
  • Circumstances have changed since you entered the United States. Here are some examples:
    • The conditions in your country of origin have changed and it would now be dangerous for you to return.
    • Your personal circumstances have changed and returning to your country of origin would now be dangerous for you. For example, you recently decided to live openly as a gay person and it would be dangerous for you to return to your country of origin as a gay person.
    • You were originally included in a family member’s asylum application, but you no longer qualify to be included in their asylum application. For example, you were included in your spouse’s asylum application, but you and your spouse have divorced since filing the application.
  • You have other special circumstances. Here are some examples:
    • You had or currently have lawful status in the United States, such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
    • You suffer from serious illness, physical disability, or mental disability.
    • You suffered a serious crime or domestic violence recently.
    • Your attorney committed fraud, and you filed a complaint against them.

If your case fits one of the above situations, you may still be able to apply for asylum after one year of entering the United States. However, it is still best to apply as soon as possible. You will also need to submit proof about how you fit one of the above situations.

Also, even if you do not qualify for asylum because you are past the one-year deadline, you may still qualify for other similar forms of protection under U.S. immigration law, such as withholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). These are similar to asylum because they are also for people who are afraid of returning to their countries of origin. You can apply using the same form as the form for asylum, Form I-589.

Read more about the decision to apply for asylum. If you would like legal assistance applying for asylum or other forms of protection, you can look for an attorney here.

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