Can Your Application for Asylum Include Your Family?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jun 19, 2018

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Your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 may be included in your asylum application. Additional applicants can “ride” on the lead alien’s application. However, there are two conditions: the family members must be physically present in the United States and they must be able to establish a basis for asylum on their own.

Required Documents for Processing Asylum Applications

If you are including your spouse in your asylum application, you must provide a marriage certificate and any proof of termination of prior marriages. The marriage certificate, divorce decree, or record of annulment does not have to be from the United States, but must be a legal, binding document that is valid in the alien’s country of origin. If the divorce was only ceremonial or religious, the alien may be asked to provide a divorce decree from the United States. Include birth certificates for any unmarried children under the age of 21.

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Adult Children and Asylum Application Procedures

Adult children seeking asylum in the United States must file their own applications for asylum, although their cases may be consolidated with that of their parent(s) upon request. The family’s “credible fear” of persecution in their country of origin may be based on the same facts or circumstances supporting the asylum claim. This would be a good reason to consolidate the cases so that the family’s case can be tried in one courtroom before the same immigration judge.

Further, if you receive asylum status, you may apply for derivative asylum benefits for your spouse or children, whether they reside in our outside the United States. This means that your spouse or children can derive status based on your case. 

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