Can I Travel Outside the U.S. While My Asylum Case Is Pending?

Question: I’m here on a Tourist Visa. I plan to obtain Permanent Residence based on Asylum. Will there be problems if I try to travel outside the United States while my case is pending? Let’s say there is a problem with traveling outside the United States while my Asylum case is pending would it then make more sense to delay my Asylum application so I can travel? My Tourist Visa expires in a few weeks. So if I decide to travel and because of that I am then forced to apply for Asylum after my Tourist Visa expires would that have an impact on my Asylum application?

Answer: Whooa. Hold on. Well, first off, you assume that the Asylum case will be granted, and that’s a very, very bad assumption to make. My estimate is that less than 10 percent of the Asylum are approved. If you think you’re going to get a Green Card based on Asylum that’s extremely wishful thinking. Yes, technically, you can travel while your Asylum case is pending by applying for Advance Parole, but it’s generally a bad idea, and if you travel to the country you’re trying to gain refuge from it’s a really, really bad idea. Tell me, which country are you applying for asylum from? Are you talking about traveling on this Green Card back to that same country? If you do then in my view you’re committing fraud. You’re telling the United States government I fear for my life, that I am afraid to return to X country, where I will be persecuted based upon race, religion, particular social group, or a political opinion. It seems to me you are already making plans to travel back there. Immigration is not stupid. If you actually have a genuine fear of returning then you wouldn’t want to have any desire to want to leave the the United States at all. You should be saying, “I want to stay in the United States and get refuge.” In response to your second question, yes, you should file your asylum application before the Tourist Visa runs out, which will toll your lawful presence here.

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