What is the Difference Between an Asylee and Withholding of Removal Status?

Once the applicant applies for asylum, the applicant or the attorney files an application I-589 form. Later on, after the Immigration Court, the applicant enters Withholding of Removal Status and often does not understand what is the difference between these two statuses.

Some applicants do not pay attention to the name of the application, which they or their attorneys submit. Form I-589 is called the Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. Basically, the applicant automatically applies for both statuses.

In fact, there is a huge difference for the immigrant. When the applicant gets Asylee status, this applicant can apply for a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) after 1 year, and later on (4 years and 9 months since the date of the permanent residence) the applicant can apply for naturalization (citizenship). When the applicant gets the Withholding of Removal status, the applicant cannot apply for the green card and naturalization. This status gives the applicant a sort of protection from deportation and nothing else. The applicant cannot travel abroad. The applicant cannot work without an Employment Authorization Card and will have to renew it every time before its expiration date. Moreover, it is not free. The applicant must check the list of documents and current fees to renew it. The Withholding of Removal Status does not allow the applicant to apply for any family petition. If the Immigration Judge grants Asylum Status for the main applicant, his/her family (if they are in the US and were included in the applicant’s case) automatically receive the same status. As for the Withholding of Removal Status, only the main applicant receives this status. His/her family members (in they are in the US and included in the case) do not get this status automatically. The family members must prove that their lives are in danger as well or provide the Immigration Judge a significant reason why they cannot go back to their country. Sometimes, Immigration Judges automatically grant the Withholding Status to the family. 

If the applicant is single and does not have a family in the US, then the applicant can get married to a US citizen, and the spouse will file a petition. In this case, the applicant has a chance to change the Withholding of Removal Status and gets the green card, but this process takes time and has some restrictions. The restrictions depend on a case by case and the applicant will need to hire an immigration attorney to discuss all the details. 

The Withholding of Removal has a positive side too. If the immigrant already has a green card but commits a criminal act and is arrested for it and scheduled to appear before the Immigration Judge for deportation process, and it is still dangerous to return back to the immigrant’s country, then the Judge can grant this status. It means the immigrant is no longer the permanent resident, he/she does not have a green card, but can stay in the US and work legally. 

Of course, the attorney can appeal the decision or provide the Immigration Judge more evidence to try to get Asylum instead of the Withholding Status, but this is just general information about this status. The process is complicated and needs a good specialist (immigration attorney) to prepare the case.

*For informational use only.

Photo by Clément Griffet 

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top