If I Have Been Denied a Visa Before, Can it Affect My Current Asylum Case?

Staying in the United States if you are foreign can be a complicated and time-consuming process. Technically, the law states that there is a one year deadline between entering the United States and applying for asylum. The immigration system in the United States can be especially confusing, so it’s always best to consult an experienced immigration attorney who has reviewed your case before applying for any type of visa, or for asylum. Keep reading to learn more about the general facts of applying for a visa or asylum in the United States.


Your Visa Status in the United States


The date by which you need to leave the United States is most likely on a document called an I-94. If your on a student visa, you will likely be allowed to stay for the duration of your studies. If you are in the U.S. on a work visa, you also have a chance of extending your stay by renewing your work visa and/or applying in the U.S. for another academic or vocational program. Applying for asylum could be in your best interest however as it will allow you to legally work in the United States quicker. 


Generally, the prior denial of a visa should not affect the right of someone to apply for asylum. However, this may depend on the reason that the prior visa was denied. For example, issues with national security or certain criminal grounds may cause an asylum application to be denied


How Soon Will Your Asylum Case Be Heard


In recent years, more people apply for asylum in the United States than the system can cope with. You could end up waiting years for a decision. As of 2018 the USCIS is attempting a “first in, first out” handling of applications. This means that people who apply now may hear a decision sooner than those who applied much earlier. If your other visa status runs out while you are waiting for your asylum application to be processed, you will be allowed to stay in the United States while you are waiting for a decision.


People who were on a tourist visa, student visa or work visa typically receive a decision in the mail a few weeks after their asylum interview. If you are not granted asylum, you will receive a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) explaining why, and you will have sixteen days to respond to the NOID. You can ask the officer assigned to your case to change their mind, which could happen, otherwise you will receive a final denial. If you are denied, you will remain in whatever visa status you were in before. If you are not in the U.S. legally, you will normally be issued what’s called a Notice to Appear (NTA) in Immigration Court. During the court proceedings, you can renew the asylum case before a judge. If you receive a final denial, and don’t receive a Notice to Appear, you will not be able to have your asylum claim heard by an immigration judge until you are placed into removal proceedings. In this instance, you are entitled to apply for asylum again, since your application was denied by an asylum officer and not by an immigration judge.




Immigration is an especially difficult area of law as the rules and regulations are constantly evolving and changing. We would always recommend contacting an experienced immigration attorney before trying to apply for any U.S. visa or for asylum. Dominguez Law specializes in immigration law and will dedicate the time to understanding your specific situation in order to prepare the best case possible for their clients. Contact them today if you are thinking about applying for asylum in the United States. 

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