Navigating the EB2 Green Card While Your Asylum Case Is Pending

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Picture of Shawn Sedaghat, Esq.

Shawn Sedaghat, Esq.

Are you wondering if you can pursue an EB2 green card while waiting for your asylum decision? The world of immigration processes is complex, but there’s a path forward even when cases overlap. This guide will provide insights on applying for an EB2 green card amidst a pending asylum case.

Before proceeding, please understand that immigration law is highly complex. Consulting an experienced immigration attorney is crucial when applying for an EB-2, consular processing, or adjusting status, especially if you are an asylee or awaiting your asylum interview. They will guide you through collecting supporting documents and other specific requirements to ensure that your green card application is approved.

Key Takeaways

  • You can apply for an EB2 green card even if your asylum case is still pending.
  • Ensure you qualify for the EB2 category by demonstrating exceptional ability or advanced degrees, and that your job benefits the U.S.
  • Applying for EB2 won’t change your current asylum status, but if approved, it offers another way to obtain your permanent residency.
  • If USCIS denies your green card application, you may have options to appeal the decision.
  • After being granted asylum, you become eligible for a green card one year after your approval, although you do not necessarily have to wait one year to file for it.

Understanding Asylum Status

When contemplating asylum or if you’ve already started this journey, navigating the legal complexities is essential. Your pending asylum status means awaiting a decision that could dramatically alter your life path.

Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney is invaluable for preparing and filing your asylum application, or for aiding in the pursuit of your pending asylum case with USCIS. Their guidance is pivotal in meeting the specific requirements to reduce the risk of denial and achieving lawful status.

Who Is Eligible for Asylum in the United States?

Eligibility for asylum is determined by specific criteria set forth by immigration law. Individuals who have suffered persecution or have a well-founded fear of future persecution in their home country due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion may qualify for asylum status. This protection extends to those already in the U.S. or at a U.S. border or entry point. Asylum seekers must apply within one year of their arrival unless exceptional circumstances warrant a delay.

The process involves a detailed application, including interviews and potential court hearings. It’s imperative for applicants to provide compelling evidence of persecution and to meet all eligibility criteria. Given the complexities of asylum proceedings, seeking the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney is often crucial.

What Is Pending Asylum Status?

Pending asylum status signifies a plea for protection lodged with the U.S. government due to feared harm in your home country. While your case awaits adjudication, you are permitted to reside legally within the United States. However, this holding pattern does not grant you an official “status” in the traditional sense. Clarifying your exact status is often critical to your eligibility for an EB-2 green card within the U.S.


Applying for EB2 While Asylum Case is Pending

As you navigate your pending asylum case, consider the route of applying for an EB2 green card. Understanding the prerequisites and possible repercussions is crucial.

Requirements and Limitations

It’s feasible to pursue an EB2 green card even with a pending asylum case. Key points to consider include:

  • Demonstrating exceptional ability in your field, which involves presenting evidence of advanced degrees or notable accomplishments.
  • Your professional contributions should significantly benefit the United States, potentially enhancing sectors like healthcare, technology, or education.
  • Endorsements from industry leaders, through letters vouching for your exceptional abilities, are pivotal.
  • A comprehensive collection of legal documents—spanning diplomas, accolades, and curricula vitae—underscores your educational and professional journey.
  • Initiating an EB2 application leaves your pending asylum status unaffected, and both procedures can proceed concurrently.
  • USCIS evaluates your EB2 application and asylum claim independently.

Potential Implications

Facing the denial of your asylum case and subsequent entry into removal or deportation proceedings complicates the journey toward an EB2 green card. The immigration court holds jurisdiction over removal hearings, potentially leaving USCIS without the authority to adjust your status. If you planned to exit the U.S. for consular processing, you might confront additional hurdles, such as a re-entry ban. Navigating these challenges necessitates the expertise of an experienced immigration attorney.

The journey is fraught with complexities, where timing and strategic planning are crucial. Consideration for travel documents like Advance Parole is essential; they permit temporary departure from the U.S. without jeopardizing your asylum status. Proper utilization of these documents might facilitate an adjustment of status within the U.S.

Achieving EB2 approval does not guarantee an immediate transition to permanent residency. USCIS must approve your Form I-485 for adjustment of status, or a U.S. consular office must greenlight your immigrant visa.


Navigating the complex waters of U.S. immigration law, especially when juggling a pending asylum case with the pursuit of an EB2 green card, underscores the need for personalized guidance and strategic planning. This journey intertwines various facets of immigration policy, from asylum proceedings to the intricacies of adjustment of status, requiring a thorough understanding and meticulous attention to detail.

For those facing removal proceedings or contemplating the consular process after an asylum case is pending, the assistance of an immigration attorney becomes indispensable. Understanding the significance of maintaining lawful status, the potential denial of applications, and the strategic use of advance parole could mean the difference between adjustment of status and facing removal proceedings.

In the end, the goal for many is to achieve permanent residence in the U.S., whether through granted asylum, an employment-based green card, or other forms of lawful permanent resident status. With diligence, the right legal guidance, and a solid understanding of the process, the dream of becoming a green card holder and eventually a citizen of the United States is within reach.

Remember, while the application process for asylum and EB2 may intersect, each carries its own set of challenges and eligibility requirements. Taking informed steps forward with the support of a skilled immigration lawyer is key to navigating this complex process successfully.

FAQs on Asylum and EB2 Green Card Process

Can I still apply for an EB2 green card if my asylum case is pending?

  • Yes, you can apply for an EB2 green card even with a pending asylum case. It’s crucial to meet the eligibility criteria for the EB2 category, which typically includes demonstrating exceptional ability or holding advanced degrees. Applying for EB2 does not affect your asylum status, but consulting with an experienced immigration attorney is highly recommended.

What happens to my pending asylum status if I apply for an EB2 green card?

  • Applying for an EB2 green card does not directly impact your pending asylum status. The USCIS reviews both applications separately based on their individual eligibility criteria and specific requirements. Achieving lawful permanent resident status through EB2 can supplement your asylum proceedings.

How can I prove my exceptional ability for the EB2 National Interest Waiver?

  • To prove exceptional ability for the EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW), you need to provide evidence of advanced degrees, significant achievements, and letters from industry experts vouching for your skills and contributions. These documents should demonstrate how your work benefits the United States in areas like healthcare, technology, or education.

Can I travel outside the US with pending asylum and EB2 applications?

  • Traveling outside the U.S. with pending asylum and EB2 applications requires caution. Obtaining advance parole is essential to avoid jeopardizing your applications. Consultation with an immigration lawyer is crucial to understand the risks and proper use of advance parole.

What should I do if my EB2 application is denied while my asylum case is pending?

  • If your EB2 application is denied, you might have options to appeal the decision. It’s important to review the denial reasons and consult with an immigration attorney for guidance. This does not automatically affect your pending asylum case.

How long does the EB2 application process take, and how does it affect my asylum case?

  • The timeline for the EB2 application process varies. Applying for an EB2 does not halt or directly influence your pending asylum case. Both processes proceed independently. Consulting with an immigration lawyer can provide clarity on how these parallel processes might unfold based on your specific circumstances.
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