Starting January 29, 2018, the Asylum Division will give priority to the most recently filed affirmative asylum applications when scheduling asylum interviews.
USCIS’ predecessor, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, first established this interview scheduling approach as part of asylum reforms implemented in January 1995. This approach was in place until December 2014. The aim is to deter individuals from using asylum backlogs solely to obtain employment authorization by filing frivolous, fraudulent or otherwise non-meritorious asylum applications.
Giving priority to recent filings allows USCIS to promptly place such individuals into removal proceedings, which reduces the incentive to file for asylum solely to obtain employment authorization. This approach also allows USCIS to decide qualified applications in a more efficient manner.
USCIS will now schedule asylum interviews in the following order of priority:
First priority: Applications that were scheduled for an interview, but the interview had to be rescheduled at the applicant’s request or the needs of USCIS.
Second priority: Applications that have been pending 21 days or less.
Third priority: All other pending affirmative asylum applications will be scheduled for interviews starting with newer filings and working back towards older filings.
Workload priorities related to border enforcement may affect our ability to schedule all new applications for an interview within 21 days.
Asylum office directors may consider, on a case-by-case basis, an urgent request to be scheduled for an interview outside of the priority order listed above. Please submit any urgent interview scheduling requests in writing to the asylum office with jurisdiction over your case. Go to the USCIS Service and Office Locator page for contact information.
For asylum applicants who live far from an asylum office or an asylum sub-office, asylum offices schedule asylum interviews at USCIS field offices (“circuit ride” locations) as resources permit. Please contact the asylum office with jurisdiction over your case for more detailed information.