Understanding the Asylum Clock

When can I apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?
You can apply for an EAD once your clock shows that 150 days have passed since the submission of your asylum application and if you are still waiting for a decision. However, USCIS will not issue you an EAD until your clock shows that 180 days have passed since the submission of your application. As explained below, just because 150 or 180 calendar days have passed since you submitted your asylum application, this does not mean that the same number of days have passed on your Asylum Clock.

What is the EAD Asylum Clock?
An EAD Asylum Clock is a clock that tracks how many days have passed since you submitted your asylum application. The number of days that accrue on your clock, however, is not continuous, since the clock can be stopped and restarted by either an immigration judge or an asylum officer.

When will my EAD clock be stopped?
Generally, your clock will be stopped when your actions interrupt or cause any delays in the decision of your case. Examples of such delays (like needing time to find an attorney) are explained below.  If delays are requested or caused by the government, then your clock will not be stopped and it will continue to add days.

How do I track my Asylum clock?
If you are in removal/deportation proceedings, you may check your EAD clock by dialing the Immigration Court automated phone number 1-800-898-7180 and entering your A-Number.

I filed my asylum application with USCIS

When does my EAD clock start running?
Your clock starts running on the day that you file a completed application with USCIS.

I received a notice for an interview with USCIS, but I did not go. How does this affect my EAD clock?

  • If you failed to appear before USCIS for your asylum interview, you are given 15 days to submit a written excuse showing good cause for missing the interview. If the asylum office thinks you showed good cause, then your interview is rescheduled, but your clock is stopped. The clock will be resumed when you show up to the new interview.
  • If your letter shows that you missed the interview because of exceptional circumstances (usually events beyond your control), then your interview MUST be rescheduled. Your clock is stopped and is resumed when you attend the new interview.
  • If you do not show good cause in your letter or if you fail to submit an excuse during the 15 days, then your clock is permanentlystopped. USCIS may refer your case to the immigration court or close your application.
  • If your case has been referred to immigration court, you may submit an excuse to the asylum office showing that your absence was due to exceptional circumstances. If this is the case, you must be given another asylum interview and your clock must be resumed on the day of the new interview.
  • If your case was closed and not referred to immigration court, you may write a letter to the asylum office asking them to reopen your case for good cause. If the asylum office decides to reopen your case, then your clock resumes on the day of your new asylum interview. Similarly, if you show that your absence was due to exceptional circumstances, your case must be reopened. Your clock will resume on the day of your new interview.

I received instructions to go to the Application Support Center (ASC) to get fingerprinted, but I did not go. How does this affect my EAD clock?
If the absence was your fault, your asylum interview and ASC appointment will be rescheduled. Your clock will be stopped, unless you can show good cause for not going to the ASC appointment. If no good cause is shown, your clock is resumed when you attend your new asylum interview.

My asylum interview was rescheduled because of issues with the interpreter. How does this affect my EAD clock?
Your clock will be stopped and will resume when you attend your new asylum interview.

At the end of the interview, I requested additional time to submit more evidence, and the asylum officer granted it. How does this affect my EAD clock?
Your clock will be stopped and will resume once the documents are submitted to USCIS.

At the end of the interview, the asylum officer requested additional documentation and gave me a date by when to submit them. How does this affect my EAD clock?
Your clock continues to run because the delay in your case was caused by USCIS when the asylum officer asked for the information.

I went to my asylum interview, but failed to pick up the asylum officer’s decision. I received the decision by mail, and my case has been referred to immigration court. How does this affect my EAD clock?
Your clock is stopped on the day that you missed the appointment to pick up your decision and will be restarted at the first hearing in immigration court.

I attended the appointment to pick up the asylum officer’s decision and my case has been referred to the immigration court. How does this affect my EAD clock?
Your clock continues to run and is not stopped.

I attended the appointment to pick up the asylum officer’s decision and/or received a recommended approval or approval notice. How does this affect my EAD clock?
Typically, an Employment Authorization card will be mailed to you about two weeks after you have been approved.  You can also apply for an Employment Authorization Document immediately.

I filed my asylum application in Immigration Court or my case has been referred to Immigration Court by USCIS

 When does my EAD clock start running if I filed my asylum application in Immigration Court?
Your clock starts running the day the judge accepted your completed application in open court. If your case is delayed upon your request or because of your fault at this initial hearing, then your clock will not start running until the next hearing.

I filed my asylum application with USCIS and my case was referred. What happens to my asylum clock?
The asylum clock is running when the case is referred to Immigration Court unless you failed to appear at an interview before USCIS or you failed to receive an Asylum Officer’s decision and the Notice to Appear. However, if your case is delayed at the hearing based on your request or because of a delay you caused at the initial hearing, then your clock will not start running until the next hearing.

I attended my first hearing, but requested more time to obtain a lawyer. How does this affect my EAD clock?
Your clock will be stopped and will resume at your next hearing if you do not delay your case again.

The judge asked if I wanted an “expedited asylum hearing date,” but I said no because it was too soon and my lawyer needed more time to prepare my case. How does this affect my EAD clock?
Your clock will be stopped and will resume at your next hearing if you do not delay your case again.

I asked for more time to submit additional documents to support my asylum application. How does this affect my EAD clock?
Your clock will be stopped and will resume at your next hearing if you do not delay your case again.

The government attorney asked for another hearing to be able to conduct an investigation. How does this affect my EAD clock?
Your clock continues to run.

My hearing was moved to an earlier date. How does this affect my EAD clock?
If your clock was stopped, then it will remain stopped until the hearing. If your clock was running, then it will continue to run until the hearing.

My hearing was rescheduled by the court or by a government attorney. How does this affect my EAD clock?
If your clock is stopped, it should resume on the day that your next hearing would have taken place. If your clock was running, it will continue to run.

I requested that my hearing be rescheduled for a later date and it moved. How does this affect my EAD clock?
If your clock is stopped, it will remain stopped. If it is running, it will stop running on the day that your hearing would have taken place.

I requested that my hearing be transferred to another court (change of venue). How does this affect my EAD clock?
Your clock will be stopped on the day your judge agreed to transfer your case. It will resume at your next hearing if you do not cause another delay.

The government requested that my hearing be transferred to another immigration court (change of venue). How does this affect my EAD clock?
If your clock was running, it will continue to run until your next hearing. If your clock was stopped, then it will resume on the day that the judge agrees to transfer your case.

This information does not constitute legal advice; instead it is meant to serve as a resource to help understand the Asylum Clock. Immigration law is complex and it is impossible to describe every aspect of every process. Anyone viewing the information should not rely or act upon the information without seeking counsel.

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