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How Does an Asylee Couple’s Divorce Affect Their Asylum Status and Subsequent Adjustment of Status


A person residing in the United States as an asylee may have included their spouse on their I-589 application. But what happens when the principal applicant and spouse get divorced?

While the Asylum Application is Pending

If the asylum application is pending and the lead applicant divorces their spouse, the spouse should file their own independent asylum application. This new asylum application should include all the reasons why the spouse is afraid to return to their home country.

Generally, an asylum application must be filed within one year of entry into the United States. However, there are some exceptions. In this scenario, a spouse who has become divorced from the main applicant falls under the “changed circumstance” exception. Under 8 CFR 208.5(a)(4)(C) an “alien who had previously been included as dependent in another alien’s pending asylum application, the loss of the spousal or parent-child relationship to the principal applicant through marriage, divorce, death, or attainment of age 21” is a clear exception to the one-year filing requirement.

Therefore, the now single spouse can file a new asylum application and the application will be considered timely. It is important to note, however, that the new asylum application should be filed as quickly as possible after the divorce, not to exceed six months.

When Granted Asylee Status

If you obtained asylum status as a derivative of your spouse, a divorce from your spouse may jeopardize your asylee status. Once the divorce becomes finalized, you may lose your asylee status. It is important to speak to an immigration attorney to discuss filing your own asylum application, or to determine if any other relief is available. Generally, however, in order not to remain in limbo the former spouse may file her own I-589, and have it approved nunc pro tunc by USCIS to the date the derivative asylum was granted.

Filing for Adjustment of Status

If you remain married at the time you filed for adjustment of status, USCIS will normally approve the application. Regardless, it is important to discuss the impact of a divorce on your asylum case with a skilled immigration lawyer.

Consult with an Immigration Attorney Today

Navigating the impact of divorce on an asylee couple’s adjustment of status application can be complex, but with the right guidance, it is entirely manageable. At Yekrangi & Associates, we have extensive experience helping asylees understand how divorce might affect their immigration status and assisting them through the adjustment of status process. Our team is here to offer support and guidance at every stage of your case and beyond. If you are an asylee facing divorce and are concerned about how it may affect your adjustment of status application, contact Yekrangi & Associates today.

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