Work permits for non-ASAP members

Last updated on September 14, 2020.

ASAP is currently challenging two new rules designed to prevent many asylum seekers from working legally in the United States. You can read more about our lawsuit, CASA v. Wolf, here.

On September 11, 2020, a federal judge ruled that the new work authorization rules likely violate the law and temporarily prohibited the government from applying certain parts of the rules to members of ASAP and CASA. However, all parts of the rules still apply to asylum seekers who are not members of ASAP or CASA. We will continue to post any updates or changes on this page.

If you are a member of ASAP or CASA, please read this post to understand your current eligibility for work authorization. If you are not a member of ASAP or CASA, please continue reading to understand your current eligibility.

For asylum seekers who are not members of ASAP or CASA, the rules are currently in effect. Key parts of the rules are explained below:

  • 365-day waiting period: Starting on August 25, 2020, asylum seekers have to wait 365 days (one year) after submitting their asylum application to be eligible for a work permit, instead of 150 days.
  • One-year filing bar: Asylum seekers who filed their asylum application on or after August 25, 2020 and more than one year after arriving in the United States will no longer be eligible for a work permit, unless and until an immigration judge finds that they qualify for an exception, or unless they are a child who is designated an “unaccompanied minor.”
  • Bar for entering without inspection: Asylum seekers who cross the border on or after August 25, 2020 and do not present at a port of entry are not eligible for a work permit, unless they meet certain limited exceptions.
  • Criminal bar: Asylum seekers who have committed or been convicted of certain crimes will not be eligible for work permits.
  • Automatic termination of work permits: Starting on August 25, 2020, if the immigration judge denies an asylum seeker’s case and the asylum seeker does not appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) within 30 days, OR if the asylum seeker does appeal but the BIA denies the appeal, their work permit will terminate automatically and cannot be renewed.
  • Repeal of the 30-day processing: Starting on August 21, 2020, the government will no longer have to make a decision on an initial work permit within 30 days. See this document for more information.
  • Repeal of the “deemed complete” rule: The “deemed complete” provision previously meant that if an asylum application was pending with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for more than 30 days without agency action, it would be deemed complete. Now, USCIS may reject an asylum application more than 30 days after it was filed.
  • Applicant-caused delays: Starting on August 25, 2020, the government will no longer stop the asylum clock for specific reasons. Instead, the government will deny applications for work permits if they decide that there are “unresolved applicant-caused delays,” for example if the asylum seeker missed a biometrics appointment.
  • Biometrics requirement and fee: Starting on August 25, 2020, the government will charge an $85 fee for biometrics for asylum seekers applying for a work permit.
  • Discretionary denials: Starting on August 25, 2020, the government will have discretion to deny requests of employment authorization even when the asylum applicant meets the requirements.

Please talk to an attorney about your eligibility and specific case!

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

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