Obtaining Derivative Asylee Status for a Spouse

The United States may grant a person Asylum protection if the applicant may have been persecuted or fear he or she will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion. However, what happens to the spouse of the applicant if the spouse did not jointly apply? In this case, the spouse may apply for derivative asylee status.

For the applicant that was initially granted asylee status, he or she may request for follow to join benefits for one spouse. The applicant must do this however within the first two years. The applicant may also only request this benefit for only one spouse, even if the applicant is married to multiple partners.

The spouse of the asylee must meet certain requirements in order to receive derivative asylee status. The spouse of a principal asylee does not need to show that he or she was persecuted. Also, the bar to status because of firm resettlement in another country does not apply to a derivative refugee/asylee spouse. The spouse must meet the definition of “spouse.” Also, the spouse must have been married to the asylee before the asylee was granted asylee status in the United States. At the time of filing, the spouse must still have been legally married to the asylee when the petition was filed, and when the spouse is admitted to the United States, if the spouse is not in the country at the time of filing. The spouse can not be a persecutor of others or be the subject of any of the asylum bars.

Like the initial granting of asylee status, the spouse, once also granted asylee status may request authorization for employment. This means that the applicant would be allowed to legally work in the United States while their asylee status remains in effect.

It falls on the applicant and the spouse to show proof that not only are the two people legally married, but that the applicant has been granted asylee status.

It is advisable to seek legal guidance from our office today as we strive to help guide you with your specific case. 

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