United States Derivative Refugee/Asylum Status for Your Children

If you hold a refugee or asylum status in the U.S, you can be able to petition to get lawful derivative refugee/asylum status for your children by filing Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition. The “derivative” refugee or asylee status will allow your children to derive this status from you after you were admitted to the U.S. as a refugee or acknowledged an approval of asylum. As the derivative refugee status for children is based on the asylum application of the parent, the derivative child refugee age out rules apply to the parent, and not the child.

The “derivative” refugee or asylee status has a two-year filing timeline, but USCIS may still accept your petition after two years for acceptable reasons only.

Who Is It For

The derivative refugee or asylee status will allow children of a lawful refugee or asylee status holder to derive refugee or asylee status from USCIS.

How to Qualify?

The child must be a dependent child, unmarried and under 21 years of age. The child must meet all the requirements under the meaning of child in the U.S immigration Law. You must read all details about your child including step child, adopted and legitimated children;

  • Your child was born or conceived before you were admitted to the United States as a refugee or obtained a grant of asylum;
  • Your child has a relationship to you at the time of filing Form I-730 and when they are admitted to the United States (if applicable);
  • Your child must not be inadmissible under any of the grounds that apply to refugees and must not be barred as a persecutor, if they are seeking derivative refugee status; and
  • Your child must not be subject to one of the obligatory asylum bars, as well as the persecutor bar, if they are looking for derivative asylum status.

Process

Application Procedures for Getting Derivative Refugee/Asylum Status for your Child

If your entry into the U.S. as a refugee was within the last 2 years or you were approved asylum status within the past 2 years, and are wishing for derivative refugee or asylum status for your child, your family relationship will determine the documents you must submit to USCIS.

For asylum or refugee cases, a child is defined as being unmarried and under 21 when you first filed your application for asylum or refugee status.

To petition for your child, you must:

  • Understand the instructions for Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition;
  • Full up and sign your Form I-730; and
  • Submit all required evidence and supporting documentation.
  • Your child is not allowed to complete the Form I-730 petition on behalf of any other relatives.

Once USCIS receives your Form I-730, you will receive a:  

  • Receipt notice confirming we received your petition; and
  • Notice of our decision. 
  • If required, you and your child will receive a notice from USCIS or the Department of State to attend an interview and submit biometrics.   

Documents Needed

Documents can vary depending on who is benefits on behalf of the child:

Application Process: Mother

If you are the mother applying for refugee or asylum status for your child, you must submit:

  • Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition (one for each child)
  • Evidence of your status as a refugee or asylee
  • Recent, clear photograph of your child
  • Copy of your child’s birth certificate showing your name and the name of your child

Application Process: Father

If you are the father applying for refugee or asylum benefits for your child, you must submit:

  • Form I-730 (one for each child)
  • Evidence of your status as a refugee or asylee
  • Photograph of your child
  • Copy of child’s birth certificate showing the name of both parents
  • Copy of the marriage certificate if you are or were married to your child’s mother
  • If you were never married to your child’s mother, proof that the child was legitimated by civil authorities or evidence that a parent-child relationship exists or existed
  • Copy of any divorce certificate, death certificates or annulment decrees showing that any previous marriages by you and/or the child’s mother were legally terminated

Application Process: Step-Parent

If you are the step parent applying for refugee or asylum benefits for your child, you must submit:

  • Form I-730 (one for each step-child)
  • Evidence of your status as a refugee or asylee
  • Photograph of your child
  • Copy of your step-child’s birth certificate
  • Copy of the marriage certificate for you and your step-child’s natural parent
  • Copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates or annulment decrees showing that any previous marriages by you and/or the child’s natural parent were legally terminated

Application Process: Adoptive Parent

If you are the adopted parent applying for refugee or asylum benefits for your child, you must submit:

  • Form I-730 (one for each child)
  • Evidence of your status as a refugee or asylee
  • Photograph of your child
  • Certified copy of the adoption decree 
  • Evidence that you had legal custody of the child for at least 2 years (legal custody may have been granted prior to final adoption)
  • Evidence that your child lived with you for at least 2 years

Government Fees

No filing fee for refugee/asylee petitioners. 

I-730 processing time can take up to 5 months.

Source: U.S. Department of State