Everything You Need to Know About Asylum Case Processing Time

Since the United Nations 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, a lawful declaration was announced regarding the right of asylum. Under Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it was stated that any entity has the right to seek and enjoy asylum in other countries provided with a reason for persecution. The right of asylum means a person who is persecuted by his or her mother country may be secured by another sovereign authority (i.e., another country or church official), offering him or her sanctuary.

Given the circumstance, the duration of an asylum process can take longer depending on the foreign individual’s case. To learn more about the duration of the process, here’s everything you need to know about asylum case processing time.

The Waiting Situation

Asylum cases tend to pile up depending on how many pending immigration cases are lined up for an immigration hearing. The average processing time starts running from the date the seeker’s case has been received. According to the law, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) must provide a decision with the 6-month period post application.

However, in some cases along the lines of more immigration history background search and validity checks, the legal decision period time may extend to 15 months or more. This is secondary to a case-to-case basis of processing time.

The Processing Time

As per stated above, the processing time differs per application. Once the seeker has filed an application for asylum, an initial interview would be scheduled. The officials will ask questions regarding specific personal background and reason of request. After the interview, asylum officials do a search spree regarding the applicant, home country laws and regulations, and validity of reason to check the possibility of granting asylum.

Asylum case procedures often differ from which country the individual is seeking asylum from. In the  United States, asylum cases are divided into two sections: affirmative and defensive. To put it simply, an affirmative asylum process takes quite a shorter route than the defensive secondary to its differences. An affirmative asylum process is an application within the United States (with legal documentations) while a defensive one is usually filed as defense against removal proceedings.

With this in mind, the asylum processing time does have its own individuality in approaching different cases per applicant.


Asylum cases can get complicated depending on the case the applicant has. Therefore, it is somehow expected that the time frame to process one can take from months to several years. This is why these cases should be given more attention and legal action by immigration attorneys and immigration officials.