If you get a letter called "Notice of Evidence of Untimely Filing and Optional Waiver of Asylum Interview" read below

Asylum seekers should file their asylum application within one year of entering the United States. If they file their application after that, they will have to prove that they are entitled to an exception to the one-year deadline, which can be very difficult to do. Asylum seekers who file their application after one year still have the right to have their interview with an Asylum Officer, and their case can still be granted.

Last week, the asylum offices started sending letters to some asylum seekers who filed their applications after the one-year deadline. The letter is called Notice of Evidence of Untimely Filing and Optional Waiver of Asylum Interview, and explains that the asylum seeker did not provide enough evidence for an exception to the one-year deadline. The letter provides the asylum seeker with a waiver form, which the asylum seeker can sign and mail to the Asylum Office. The waiver form will give up the asylum seeker's right to have an asylum interview. The asylum seeker will then be placed in removal proceedings with the Immigration Court, where they will have to defend themselves from being deported to their home country.

Asylum seekers are not required to sign the waiver form. If they receive it, they can ignore it and wait for their interview to be scheduled. They should not sign the waiver form without first speaking with an immigration attorney.

If an asylum seeker receives this letter, they should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss their case and options for providing evidence for an exception to the one-year deadline.

Note: RIF provides information, support, and access to resources for asylum seekers in New York. None of our written publications should be construed as providing legal advice to asylum seekers or creating an attorney-client relationship. We encourage asylum seekers to attend RIF's legal workshops, where they can seek legal advice from volunteer asylum attorneys.

Important Changes to Asylum Interview Scheduling


There are important changes regarding asylum interview scheduling by USCIS. This is very new so we are still in the process of getting more information, but we want to give you a summary. Please also read the decision published on USCIS website:


Here are the 4 main points regarding the new asylum interview scheduling:

  1. Those who already have a date for their interview: This will remain the same (for example if you have an interview on March 15, 2018, this will not change)

  2. Those who had to reschedule their asylum interview: You will receive a rescheduled date very shortly. (This means you will wait only a few weeks if your asylum interview had to be changed)

  3. Those who apply now, or those who have not applied yet: USCIS will schedule an interview within 21 days of the application date. (This is important because it means that you must have all your evidence and supporting documents ready, translated in English because your interview will take place very quickly, and of course, if possible you should have a lawyer.)

  4. Those who already have applied, even a long time ago: You will now become the last priority for an interview date. Further, the interview dates will be scheduled in reversed order.  For example, if 3 people applied in 2017, 2016, and 2015, USCIS will now schedule the person who applied in 2017 first, then the person who applied in 2016, and then the person who applied in 2015.

This of course is extremely unfair and unfortunate. We will keep you informed on what actions can be taken to protest that decision.

Please note that you are still eligible to file for extensions of work authorization during this time.

Here are out immediate recommendations:

  1. Anyone who has filed within the past year, especially in the past six months, should start preparing for an interview and get all their evidence in order.

  2.  If you are planning to apply for asylum, please make sure to have a legal consultation with an attorney at RIF. The lawyer will tell you what evidence and supporting documents you will need to gather before submitting your application.


Note: RIF provides information, support, and access to resources for asylum seekers in New York. None of our written publications should be construed as providing legal advice to asylum seekers or creating an attorney-client relationship. We encourage asylum seekers to attend RIF's legal workshops, where they can seek legal advice from volunteer asylum attorneys.

Travel ban 2: What does it mean for asylum seekers

The second version of the travel ban is currently blocked by two federal courts. Here are three important points to know for asylum seekers:

1.  The second travel ban, unlike the first travel ban, does not prevent persons from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan, who are already here in the US, to apply for asylum.

2.  They also can still apply for work authorization, social security numbers, and banks accounts.

3.  However, if you have been granted asylum and plan to bring your family members, make sure to consult with a lawyer, if you come from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan.

At the moment, the second travel ban remains blocked, and it is not yet clear of what is the next step. We will make sure to keep you informed with any new update, especially on how it affects asylum seekers.

New Work Permit Extensions

Good news:  When your work permit expires, it is now automatically extended for 180 days past the date of expiration on your work permit card.

You still have to apply for renewal, but this extension will help make sure that you are not left without work authorization while you wait for your new work permit card. 

If your employer/boss has any questions about this, or asks you for proof of this extension, here is what you should do:

1.  Provide them with  a copy of the receipt that shows that you have requested a renewal of your work permit.

2.  Show them the letter (see below) that your work permit is valid for six months while you are awaiting for your renewed work permit card.

This letter can also be found on the UCSIC website at https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/automatic-employment-authorization-document-ead-extension

Situation Report: What Trump's Executive Order Means for Asylum Seekers

What is the latest news on the Immigration Executive Order?


Donald Trump and his government were NOT successful in their appeal to restore the travel ban and  halt the entry of refugees.  That means that all the measures in the original executive order are NOW FROZEN for the time being.

Donald Trump is now saying that he is considering to introduce a NEW executive order and we will keep you informed of what it means.  Our next Asylum Legal Meeting will be on March 8 where immigration attorney, Caitlin Steinke will provide an update on the situation.  

Join us for this meeting  and for more information on the meeting contact ellie@rifnyc.org


See below a summary of how the original Executive Order  which is now frozen  would have  impacted asylum seekers:

WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF the Executive Order ON the asylum process?

  1. It means that the asylum process is NOT suspended: you can still apply for asylum, either with the help of an attorney or on your own.

  2. Asylum interviews are still taking place but as you may know it takes 2-3 years to have an interview date.

  3. You can still apply for a work permit 150 days after the application has been sent. Work permits are now valid for two years.

How would the Executive Order affect asylum seekers from the seven countries on the list?

The Executive Order would affect asylum seekers from the seven countries singled out in the Executive Order: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia & Sudan

  • Asylum seekers from the seven countries can still apply for asylum

  • Their cases are still being processed by the asylum office in the regular way

  • Interviews are still be scheduled

  • However, when the order was in place, asylum officers were told that they would not be not allowed to make final decisions in cases concerning people from the seven countries until they receive further guidance

  • This could possibly extend to work permit applications for asylum seekers from the seven countries as well.

How would the Executive Order affect the families of Asylum Seekers?

  • The asylum program continues to grant asylum to the spouses and children of people whose asylum cases are granted.
  • These family members –called derivatives– are automatically granted asylum if they are inside the United States.

  • Family members outside the United States can apply for a visa to join the principal asylee in the US.

  • However, derivatives who are citizens from the seven countries will not be granted visas to come to the us United States as long as the travel ban is in place (90 days).

Your Asylum Application does not change with Trump election.


Advise from Cristina Velez, Immigration attorney at HIV Law Project:

If you have a pending application for asylum, the case will proceed normally.  Trump's election does not change the law and does not change the due process rights we all have as persons present in the United States.  Here is some recent know your rights information.


More updated information will be forthcoming.  

"Trump and LGBT Asylum" by David Mariner

Thousands of LGBTQ individuals come to the United States every year seeking political asylum. They come from countries where they face violence and persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
How will Donald Trump as President impact LGBT asylum seekers?  Maria Blacque-Belair From RIF (Refugee and Immigrant Fund) consulted with some immigration attorneys and here are some initial thoughts she is sharing with clients in the short term.