This page provides a brief overview of the interview process and next steps. Immigration Equality offer a more detailed overview of the entire process.
After the application for asylum has been submitted (or “filed”), the applicant should receive a receipt notice that their application has been received. If you are not sent a receipt within 30 days, the application may have been filed incorrectly, or an error may have occurred. If you do not hear anything within 30 days, contact the office where you submitted your application or check the status of your application on the USCIS website.
The applicant will eventually receive an invitation to an interview. This could be as soon as 4-8 weeks after submitting, but may take as long as a year or potentially even longer. This page of the USCIS website will help applicants check the status of their case.
At the interview
The interview is the time when the asylum seeker will tell his/her story and present his/her case to an Asylum Officer. Applicants should practice and review their story so that they are able to accurately and convincingly retell the events and timeline of their written narrative. Applicants’ attorneys should help them prepare for the interview. Do not hesitate to ask your legal team for help. We do not advise applicants to tell their story in public before their asylum interview, even if that seems to be good practice.
Note: Asylum Offices do not provide interpretation services, so if applicants are not proficient in English, they will need to bring their own interpreter.
USCIS provide details of what to expect at the interview on pages 11-12 of Form I-589.
After the interview
Applicants must return to the Asylum Office two weeks after their interview to pick up the decision. The possible results are the following: Recommended Approval, Notice of Intent to Deny, or Referral to Court. This flow chart outlines the possible next steps for one’s asylum case depending on the decision received.