United States Derivative Refugee/Asylum Status for Your Spouse

If you are the principal refugee or asylum status holder in the United states and granted this status in the last two years, you may petition for derivative refugee/asylum status for your spouse by filing Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, on behalf of your spouse. Your spouse will be deriving this status from you after you were admitted to the U.S. as an approved refugee or received an approval of asylum, this is why this is considered “derivative” refugee or asylee status. This petition allows only two years for filling the status, but you may do it even after two years as USCIS may consider it due to humanitarian reasons. Learn how to get derivative asylum for your spouse in the US.

Who Is It For

Spouse and/or unmarried dependent children under 21 years of age only can derive the refugee or asylee status from a principal refugee or asylum status holder in the United states and granted this status in the last two years.

How to Qualify?

There are certain eligibility criteria that your spouse must meet for getting derivative refugee or asylum status. Your spouse is not required to have a persecution claim that would make them eligible automatically as an asylee or refugee. The spouse will derive that status through his or her relationship with the principal refugee or asylum status holder in the United states. The spouse may have different nationality than yours.

Your spouse must:

  • Meet the legal definition of spouse;
  • Have been legitimately married to you when you were admitted to the United States as a refugee or were approved asylum;
  • Must be maintaining a genuine conjugal relationship at the time of filing I-730;
  • 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
  • Not be subject to one of the mandatory asylum bars, including the persecutor bar, if they are seeking derivative asylum status. 

Process

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

Your spouse can get derivative refugee or asylee status by:

Accompanying you

You as the principal refugee or asylum status holder should include your spouse in your original application for refugee or asylee status. USCIS will be required to approve your spouse for derivative status as part of your case. But If your spouse is outside of the United States, he or she will be admitted to the United States together, or within four months of your admission; or

Join you later

This means you petition for your husband or wife within two years of you being admitted to the United States as a refugee or receiving your grant of asylum status. 

This mentioned process is just for primary understanding of the procedures. It is good to read all details from the government’s portals. 

Documents Needed

Documents required for filing form I-730:

  • Proper evidence of your legal status as an asylee or refugee in the United States
  • One passport-style photograph of every family member for whom you are filing I-730

Evidence of a family relationship:

  • Husband or wife: marriage certificate, spouse’s birth certificate, evidence you each legitimately ended previous marriages (if divorced), and evidence of legal name changes (if applicable)
  • Mother and dependent child: A copy of child’s birth certificate indicating their name and your full name, and evidence of legal name changes if the names on the birth certificate do not match the names on the petition
  • Father and dependent child: A copy of child’s birth certificate indicating the child’s name and your full name and a copy of your marriage certificate if you were married to the child’s mother.
  • Stepchild: A copy of child’s birth certificate, a copy of the marriage certificate between you and the child’s biological parent, and proof of legal name changes (if applicable)
  • Adopted child: evidence of the child’s adoption, a certified copy of the adoption decree from court, evidence that the child lived at least two years with you, a certified copy of the court order approving custody.
  • A copy of both sides of your alien relative’s Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, if they are staying in the United States

You may be required to submit more documents. This list is just for primary understanding.

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