How to Change from an F1 Visa to Asylum?

F1 Visa To Asylum

If you’re studying in the United States on an F1 Student Visa and are afraid to return to your home country due to persecution, you might be considering applying for asylum. 


This blog will guide F1 visa holders through the process of applying for asylum, ensuring you understand the necessary steps and requirements.


To answer the initial article question – yes, it is possible to change from an F1 Visa to asylum status. Before you do this, though, you must be aware of how the process works and the potential challenges.


Can You Apply for Asylum While on an F1 Student Visa?


Yes, you can apply for protection while holding an F1 student visa. However, there are specific guidelines and considerations to keep in mind.

Eligibility for Asylum While Holding an F1 Visa


To be eligible for F1 to asylum, you must demonstrate that you fear persecution in your home country due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Holding an F1 visa does not disqualify you from applying for asylum.


So, you can’t simply decide to change from your F1 Visa to Asylum status. You must meet the eligibility requirements to even start the application process.

Why it’s Important to Maintain Your F1 Status During Your Application Process


Maintaining your F1 status during the asylum application process is crucial. If your application is denied and you have lost your F1 status, you might face removal (deportation) from the United States.


Maintaining your student status as you apply gives you extra protection. It gives you something to fall back on should your application prove unsuccessful. However, with the help of an asylum attorney near me, you should be able to go through the process smoothly and have the best chances of success.


How Do You Maintain Your F1 Status During Your Asylum Application?


While applying for sanctuary, it’s essential to maintain your F1 status to stay legally in the U.S. Here’s how you can do that.

Requirements to Maintain F1 Visa Status


To maintain your F1 visa status, you must stay enrolled in a full course of study at an accredited institution. Ensure you follow all the rules and requirements set by your school and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A complete list of what you must have includes:


  • A current, valid passport.
  • A valid I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).
  • Enrollment in a full-time course for each required term of study.
  • A maximum of 20 weekly hours of on-campus work.
  • CPT or OPT authorization for any other work.

Options to Give Up F1 Visa After Filing for Asylum


If you choose to give up your F1 status after filing for sanctuary, you must understand the risks. Without your F1 status, if your application is denied, you might be placed in removal proceedings.


We do not recommend doing this unless it is impossible for you to maintain your student visa status. It is much better to let your F1 Visa expire naturally once you have received your asylum approval letter.


What are the Eligibility Criteria for Asylum?

Can International Student Apply For Asylum In Usa

Understanding the eligibility criteria for F1 visa to asylum is crucial for a successful application. Here are the main points.

Being Physically Located in the USA or at a Port of Entry


You must be physically present in the United States or at a port of entry when you apply for the status. This means you cannot apply from outside the U.S.

Demonstrate Persecution or a Fear of Persecution Due to 5 Grounds


You need to show that you have suffered persecution or have a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

File Your Application Within 1 Year of Arrival in the USA


Your F1 visa to asylum application must be filed within one year of your arrival in the United States unless you qualify for an exception to this rule.


What is the Affirmative Asylum Application Process for F1 Visa Holders?


Can international student apply for asylum in USA? Yes and the affirmative asylum process involves several steps. Here’s a breakdown to help you understand what to expect.

Determining Eligibility


Before you apply, ensure you meet all the eligibility criteria for asylum. This includes understanding the reasons for your fear of persecution and the time limits for applying. An attorney can help determine if you have eligibility for the F1 visa to asylum process

Submitting Form I-589


The first step in the F1 visa to asylum process is to fill out and submit Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, to USCIS. This is a complicated form, and you must follow the USCIS instructions and complete every required section.

Submitting Required Documents and Evidence


Along with Form I-589, you must submit documents and evidence supporting your claim of persecution. This might include personal statements, affidavits, and any relevant records. Other potential types of evidence can include:


  • Doctors statements.
  • Psychiatrists statements.
  • SMS messages.
  • Emails.
  • News clippings from your home country.


Essentially, anything that helps prove that you have suffered persecution or that there is still a real threat of it if you return to your home country.

Biometrics Appointment


After you file your application, you will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photographs, and other necessary information. This is mandatory! The USCIS sends a meeting request – always try and make the initial appointment to show good willingness.

Asylum Interview


An asylum officer will interview you to assess your application. Be prepared to discuss your fear of persecution in detail. Your attorney can accompany you during the interview. They also offer important coaching. 


For example, they can explain the questions you may be asked. They can also offer guidance on how to conduct yourself and what to do if you are unsure of how to answer any questions.

Waiting for USCIS Decision


After your interview, you will need to wait for USCIS to decide on your case. This can take several months. The USCIS strives to process applications within 180 days, but this often doesn’t happen due to the current backlog they have.


Can You Apply for Work During Your Asylum Application?

Applying For Asylum On An F1 Visa

While waiting for asylum interview date or decision, you might need to work. It’s also important to keeup to do date with asylum work permit new rules 2024. Here’s how you can apply for work authorization.

Eligibility to Apply for an EAD After 150 Days


You can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) 150 days after your asylum application has been submitted, as long as no decision has been made on your case.

EAD Process and Requirements


To apply for an EAD, you need to fill out Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Include proof of your pending asylum application and any other required documents.

How to Renew Your EAD While Your Asylum Case is Pending


If your asylum case is still pending when your EAD expires, you can apply to renew it. Make sure to apply for the renewal before your current EAD expires to avoid a gap in your work authorization.

What Are the Potential Outcomes for F1 Visa Holders?


Understanding the possible outcomes of your asylum application helps you prepare for the future.

Approval of Asylum – Meaning and Next Steps


If your asylum application is approved, you will receive asylum status and can remain in the United States. You may also apply for a green card one year after being granted asylum. 


Eventually, after 5 years of Legal Permanent Resident status (Green Card), you can apply for U.S. citizenship via the naturalization process.


With your status, you are given additional rights and benefits and can start to forge a more secure and stable life in America.

Denial of Asylum – Meaning and Next Steps


If your application is denied, you might be referred to immigration court for removal proceedings. In this case, it’s essential to have legal representation to explore any other available options. An attorney can explain the different options you have and make sure you have fair representation before any deportation action occurs.


What Are the Key Differences Between Asylum and F1 Visa Status?


Asylum and F1 visa statuses have distinct differences that affect your rights and obligations. When applying for asylum on an F1 visa it’s important to understand these differences.

Distinct Legal Protections and Obligations Under Each Status


As an asylum seeker, you are protected from being returned to your home country, and you can eventually apply for a green card. As an F1 visa holder, you must maintain your student status and follow specific educational requirements.

Impact of Asylum Application on F1 Visa Status


Applying for asylum can affect your F1 status. If you do not maintain your student status while your application is pending, you risk becoming out of status if your asylum application is denied. 


Make sure you do what you can to avoid getting your F1 student asylum denied. This acts as a second layer of protection during the application process. Should your application fail, you still have the student visa to fall back on.

Why it’s Important to Consult an Immigration Attorney


Navigating the asylum process can be complex. Consulting an asylum immigration lawyer can help you avoid mistakes and improve your chances of success.

Understanding the Importance of Seeking Legal Advice


An asylum lawyer can provide guidance on the process, help you prepare your application, and represent you if your case goes to court. 


Asylum lawyers near me have a keen understanding of student visa requirements too. This means they can help you maintain your status while also assisting with your application.

What Services an Immigration Attorney Provides


Immigration attorneys offer services such as filing applications, gathering evidence, preparing you for interviews, and representing you in immigration court.


To start, the best asylum lawyer in USA can assess your eligibility for asylum. They will look at your case and determine if you have a credible route. After that, the immigration asylum lawyer will prepare an action plan with you.


They can then assist in gathering evidence and documentation to submit with Form I-589. Not only that, but the lawyer will help complete the form and make sure you submit it to the right destination. Once your form is submitted they provide legal representation during the interview and any future hearings.

Resources for Finding Legal Assistance


Many organizations provide legal assistance to sanctuary seekers. You can find resources through local immigration services, non-profits, and online directories. Some important organizations include:



F1 Visa to Asylum Transferal is Possible – Start Your Journey Today


Applying for asylum while on an F1 visa is a significant decision that requires careful consideration and adherence to specific processes. By understanding the eligibility criteria, maintaining your F1 status, and seeking legal advice, you can navigate this challenging process more effectively.


The main takeaway from this article is that it is possible. An asylum attorney can help you with the process and we also advise making sure you do whatever you can to maintain your student status until your application is approved. This gives you additional security and protection from deportation.


Can I Apply for Asylum While on an F1 Visa?


Yes, you can apply for sanctuary while holding an F1 visa. There is no conflict between these two visa types. The only thing is, is that you cannot hold a student visa and asylum visa at the same time. If your application is approved, your F1 visa expires.

Will Applying for Asylum Affect My F1 Visa Status?


Applying for this status does not automatically affect your F1 status, but you must maintain your student status during the process. This includes things like maintaining a valid passport and enrolling in the required number of courses. However, once your application is approved, your student visa expires.

How Long Does the Asylum Application Process Take?


The application process can take several months to a few years, depending on individual circumstances and processing times. The USCIS has experienced a backlog due to previous migrant crises. As a result, it’s estimated the current average waiting time is 260+ days.

Can I Work While My Asylum Application Is Pending?


You can apply for work authorization 150 days after filing your application. You must obtain an Employment Authorization Document. You can still work a maximum of 20 on-campus hours of work per week, too, though.

What Should I Do If I Have More Questions About Applying for Asylum on an F1 Visa?


Consult an immigration attorney for personalized advice and guidance through the process. An immigration lawyer asylum professional understands the process inside out. They can help you at each stage including filing Form I-589 and representation during interviews and hearings.


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