Coronavirus Update: New York and New Jersey Asylum Offices Cancel Interview Decision Pick-Up Appointments

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In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the New York Asylum Office and the Newark Asylum Office has, effective March 12 until further notice, cancelled decision pick-up appointments. Instead the decisions will be mailed to the applicant instead. This decision comes after a flurry of executive decisions in response to the virus outbreak. The US has already banned travel directly from China and Iran and imposed visa restrictions. Additional delays and cancellations from different government agencies should be expected.

Asylum is a humanitarian immigration benefit applied for by individuals who fear severe harm or persecution if they return to their country of origin. For more information on asylum and other humanitarian relief, please click here. In order to successfully apply for asylum, an applicant has to pass a “credible fear interview”. In this interview, an USCIS officer will sit down with the applicant and discuss the details of the applicant’s claim. Currently, in-person credible fear interviews are still being held.

There are three possible outcomes for the interview. 1. Granted, where the asylum application is approved and the applicant can now apply for adjustment of status based on an approved asylum applicant. This is very rare, less than 5% of the applicants are approved. 2. Denied, where the officer does not believe that there is credible fear. This is also very rare. And 3, deferred to the immigration courts. This is the most likely outcome where the officer was not able to determine credible fear and the case is deferred to the immigration courts to go through the master and individuals hearing processes with an immigration judge.

We have provided a number of links with key immigration information related to the Corona Virus.

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