Section 601 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 expanded the definition of “refugee” to include individuals who have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of resistance to a coercive population control (CPC) program. The expanded definition, found in section 101(a)(42)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), provides that a person who has been:
- forced to abort a pregnancy
- undergo involuntary sterilization
- persecuted for failure or refusal to undergo such a procedure or for other resistance to a coercive population control program, or
- has a well-founded fear that he or she will be forced to undergo such a procedure or subject to persecution for such failure, refusal, or resistance
shall be deemed to have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of political opinion. Pursuant to section 207(a)(5) of the INA, no more than a total of 1,000 individuals per fiscal year could be granted asylum or admitted as a refugee solely on this ground. Because the number of individuals eligible for asylum based on CPC had been greater than 1,000 annually, these individuals were given a conditional grant status until one of the 1,000 final approval authorization numbers, issued annually, became available.
Section 101(g)(2) of the Real ID Act of 2005 eliminated the annual numerical limitation on refugee resettlements and grants of asylum based on CPC. Since a final approval authorization number within the 1,000-per-year cap is no longer necessary, asylum offices have been issuing final asylum approvals to newly-adjudicated cases based on CPC, as well as to applicants who had previously been given a conditional grant. Prior to receiving a final approval, the applicant must have completed and cleared security checks.
If I Received a Conditional Grant Notice Prior to the Real ID Act, How Will I Be Notified that My Conditional Grant Status Has Been Lifted?
You will be notified by mail, either by the asylum office that issued your conditional grant, or by the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals if you received asylum conditionally from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).
What Should I Do if I Have Not Yet Received a Notice Lifting My Conditional Grant Status?
If you were granted conditional asylum by an asylum office, and have not received a final asylum approval notice, you may check on the status of your asylum grant by sending a letter, with a copy of the Conditional Grant Notice, to the asylum office having jurisdiction over your case. See the Asylum Office subchannel to the right to find the address for the Asylum Office with jurisdiction over the area where you live.
If you were granted conditional asylum by an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals and have not yet received a final approval notice, you may check the status of your case in accordance with the instructions in the latest CPC press release available on the website of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).
Will I Need to Notify USCIS or EOIR if My Address Changes?
Yes, you will need to notify USCIS of any changes of address within 10 days from the date of the change by submitting a Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card. You should also notify in writing the asylum office with jurisdiction over your case of any change of address.
You will also need to notify EOIR (either the Immigration Court or the Board of Immigration Appeals, whichever last had jurisdiction over the matter) within 5 days from the date of the change of address if you received a conditional grant from EOIR. You will need to submit either Form EOIR-33/BIA or EOIR-33/IJ, Change of Address Form, which are available at the Immigration Courts or from the EOIR Internet website.
USCIS and EOIR will notify you of fingerprinting appointments and final approvals at the address you provide. Failure to properly notify USCIS, and where applicable, EOIR, of a change of address may result in a delay or termination of your eligibility for a final grant of asylum.
Will I Need to Be Fingerprinted Again if I Have a Conditional Grant of Asylum?
Yes, if you have not already done so, you will receive an appointment notice for biometrics collection and re-fingerprinting at an Application Support Center (ASC), . Because a CPC authorization number may not become available for several years, you will need to be re-fingerprinted because the results of the initial confidential background check will have expired by the time a CPC number becomes available. if the results of any prior fingerprint check have expired or will expire before March 2006. Because a CPC authorization number may not become available for several years, you will need to be re-fingerprinted because the results of the initial confidential background check will have expired by the time a CPC number becomes available. You must comply with the instructions in the fingerprint notice or you may risk losing your eligibility for a final grant of asylum.
Will I Be Eligible to Work if I Have a Conditional Grant of Asylum?
Yes, you and your dependents who were included in the asylum decision, if any, will be eligible to apply for work authorization while you remain in conditional grant status. To work in the United States, you must apply for and obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). If authorized, you may accept employment subject to any restrictions in the regulations or on the card. You and your qualifying family members are not required to pay a fee with your initial request(s) for employment authorization. However, when you submit an application to renew your employment authorization, you must pay a fee or request a fee waiver under 8 CFR § 103.7(c). To obtain an EAD, you and any dependents who wish to receive work authorization must submit separate applications on Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to the appropriate USCIS Service Center. The instructions to the Form I-765 provide the address of the Service Center where you should send the form, based on where you reside.
If I Have Not Yet Received a Final Asylum Approval, Will I Be Able to Apply for Lawful Permanent Resident Status?
No, you may not apply for lawful permanent resident status under section 209(b) of the INA while in conditional grant status. A conditional grant is not a final approval of asylum. Any time accrued while you are in conditional grant status does not count towards the one-year period that you must be physically present in the United States after a grant of asylum in order to apply for permanent resident status.
What Will Happen to My Family Members?
The conditional grant does not entitle your spouse or children outside the United States, or those who are in the United States but are not included in your asylum application, to receive derivative asylum status or to be admitted to the United States. If you receive a final approval of asylum, you will be entitled to request derivative asylum for any spouse or unmarried children under 21 years of age as of the date you filed the asylum application, as long as your asylum application was pending on or after August 6, 2002, by filing a Form I-730, Refugee and Asylee Relative Petition. The I-730 will enable any spouse or unmarried children under 21 years of age as of the date you filed the asylum application, as long as your asylum application was pending on or after August 6, 2002, to come to the United States or allow those already in the United States to remain here.
What Will Happen if My Child Turns 21?
On August 6, 2002, President Bush signed the Child Status Protection Act into law enabling children who turn 21 years of age while in conditional grant status to continue to be classified as children for asylum adjudication purposes. If your child received a conditional grant of asylum as a derivative based on being included on your asylum application, then your child will continue to be eligible for asylum provided that the following two conditions are met: 1) Your child was under 21 years of age when you filed for asylum, and 2) your asylum application was pending on or after August 6, 2002. If these conditions are not met, then your child will have aged out and will no longer be eligible for asylum as a dependent on your asylum application.
Will I Be Able to Travel Outside the United States While in Conditional Grant Status?
If you and/or your qualifying family members leave the United States, you should first obtain permission to return to the United States before leaving this country or you may not be permitted to re-enter the United States. This advance permission is called advance parole. If you leave the United States without first obtaining advance parole, it may be presumed that you abandoned your request for asylum. You may apply for advance parole by filing a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with the USCIS District Office having jurisdiction over your place of residence. If you leave the United States with advance parole and return to the country of claimed persecution, you will be presumed to have abandoned your asylum request, unless you can show compelling reasons for the return.