New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

How To File For Asylum Part IV

Author: US Asylum lawyer Alena Shautsova

Filing for asylum might be confusing for many applicants. This article cannot substitute attorney’s in person advice.


A person may file for asylum after he/she entered the United States and is still in the lawful status; when the status expired; when the person is an EWI (entered without inspection); when the person is subject to a 2 year residence requirement after the J-1 visa; when the person was previously ordered removed from the United States. A short answer is: a person may file any time, as many times as there are grounds for it (as long as the application is not frivolous). A person does not need to wait for his/her lawful status to expire to file for asylum.


Generally speaking, the deadline to file for asylum is one year after the last entry. For more information, please read article Can I File My Asylum Application After The One Year Deadline?.


After the application and supporting documents were filed and accepted, a prospective asylee will be called for fingerprints. Usually, within two months after filing, the applicant will receive an appointment for an interview with an Asylum Officer. An interview is a very important step: during the interview an Asylum Officer will determine whether the applicant’s story is truthful and whether the applicant is in fact a real asylee. I cannot emphasize the importance of preparation for the interview. Sometimes, a true, real asylee will not “pass” the interview and be referred to the court for the adjudication of his/her application.

What is a format of an interview?

An interview is held in an Asylum Office, in a room with an Asylum Officer (the “AO”) , an interpreter (if the applicant invited one), an attorney and the applicant. If there is an interpreter, the AO will put a government interpreter speaking the applicant’s language on the phone during the interview to make sure that the private interpreter and the applicant correctly convey the testimony. The AO will start with background questions regarding family, education, work experience, etc. Then the AO might ask who prepared the application and why. The AO might use different technics to question the applicant: asking the same question several times; insisting that the applicant omitted some details; intimidating the applicant, etc. It is important to be prepared for this type of questioning and maintain the proper demeanor at all the times.

At the conclusion of the interview, the officer might ask if an applicant would like to change/add his/her testimony for any reason. The decision after the interview will come in the mail. It might take two weeks to several months to receive a decision.


Before the AO denies an application, an applicant might receive a Notice of Intent to Deny asking for explanations and more evidence on the application. It is very important to fully answer the questions and prepare and submit required evidence.


Sometimes, an applicant receives a denial after the interview. In fact, it is not a denial but a referral to the immigration court where the application will be considered DE NOVO (again).

If you have immigration concerns, consult a skilled New York asylum lawyer at 917-885-2261 and find out about your options.

09 November 2012
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