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Instructions and Forms for Asylum Petition for Spouse and Children Outside the U.S.

Use these instructions to apply for asylum for your family who are outside of the the U.S.

Use these instructions if:

  • You were the principle asylum applicant for your family, and
  • Your asylum application was approved no more than two years ago, and
  • You are seeking asylum for your spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 living outside the United States.

Have you read the Frequently Asked Questions and related Articles?

These instructions are part of this TexasLawHelp.org Toolkit: Asylum. Before getting started, it’s important to read the Frequently Asked Questions and Articles included in the Toolkit.

WARNING! These instructions provide general information, not legal advice. It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer about your particular situation.

You can print these instructions to use as a checklist.

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Step 1: Fill out Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition

You can find Form I-730 and the instructions for Form I-730 on the USCIS website, or by clicking here.

  • Fill out one Form I-730 for each family member. For example, if you are petitioning for your spouse and three children, you should have a total of four Form I-730s filled out.
  • Remember, fill the form out completely and be honest with every answer. Do not guess as any incorrect information you put on your application could be considered a lie.
  • If you do not know an answer, write “UNKNOWN”. If the question does not apply to you, write, “N/A”. Do not leave any blanks.
  • Part 5 should be signed by you, the Petitioner.
  • Part 6 should not be filled out or signed if the family member, the beneficiary, is outside of the United States.
  • Part 7 of the application should be filled out and signed if you used anyone as an interpreter to read the instruction and questions of the asylum application.
  • Part 8 of the application should be filled out and signed if someone other you filled out the asylum application.

Gather and include all supporting evidence. If you do not have this supporting evidence, you will need to write an affidavit explaining why you do not have this evidence or you may be asked to explain why you do not have this evidence at your interview. If any of the documents contain foreign language, you will be required to include a full English language certified translation.

You must include:

  • Evidence of your asylee status. This includes the approval notice of your I-589 application.
  • One passport-style photograph of each family member you are petitioning. The photo must be recent and cannot have been taken more than 30 days before you file your application. Make sure you print the person’s complete name and A-number on the back of each photograph.
  • If you are petitioning for your spouse, submit your marriage certificate and the birth certificate of your spouse. If you or your spouse were previously married to other people, submit evidence of the legal termination of the previous marriages such as a divorce decree or death certificate. Evidence of any legal name change must also be submitted, if applicable.
  • If you are petitioning for your child, and you are the natural mother, submit the child's birth certificate showing both the child's name and your name.
  • If you are petitioning for your child, and you are the natural father, submit the child's birth certificate showing both the child's name and your name. If you were married to the child's mother, submit your marriage certificate. Also submit evidence that the child was legitimated by civil authorities and evidence that a bona fide parent/child relationship exists or existed between you and the child. This includes any evidence that shows you have emotional and financial ties to the child.
  • If you are petitioning for your stepchild, submit the child's birth certificate and the marriage certificate between you and the child's natural parent. If you or the child's natural parent were ever previously married to other people, submit evidence of the legal termination of the previous marriage(s). Evidence of any legal name changes must also be submitted, if applicable.
  • If you are petitioning for your adopted child, submit a certified copy of the adoption decree and evidence that you resided together with the child for at least 2 years. If you were granted legal custody of the child prior to the adoption, submit a certified copy of the court order granting custody. Evidence of any legal name changes must also be submitted, if applicable.
  • If any of the above documents is not available, you may submit secondary documents, such as religious institution records, school records, census records.
  • If secondary documents are not available, you may submit written statements sworn to or affirmed by two persons who were living at the time and who have personal knowledge of the event you are trying to prove; for example, the date and place of birth, marriage, divorce, or death. Each affidavit should contain the following information regarding the person making the affidavit:
    • his or her full name;
    • address, date, and place of birth and his or her relationship to you, if any;
    • full information concerning the event; and
    • complete details concerning how the person acquired the knowledge of the event.
Step 2: File (turn in) your signed Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition

Each Relative Petition must be filed with one of the USCIS Service Centers. Depending on the state in which you live, you will file your application with the Texas Service Center or the Nebraska Service Center. To determine where you should file your application, go to the USCIS asylum information page and click on “Where to File”.

Before you file, make sure your petition is signed and make a copy for your records.

Step 3: Have fingerprints taken

Any applicant over the age of 14 will be required to have their fingerprints taken and a background security check done. Your relative will be given instructions, if applicable, for fingerprinting and photographs by DHS, the Department of State (DOS), or Overseas Processing Entities (OPEs) (that is, organizations who assist the United States government).

Step 4: Attend Asylum Interview

Your relative will be interviewed by an appropriate United States Government official according with DHS and DOS procedures for refugee and asylee derivative interviews in the specific country. Your relative will be notified of the date, time, and place for his or her interview.

Step 5: After your Relative Petition is granted

If your Relative Petition is granted, your relative(s) now have the following benefits:

  • Your relative may immigrate to the United States as an asylee. However, having an approved Relative Petition does not guarantee the issuance of a visa. Your relative will still be required to acquire a visa to travel to the United States.

After your relative has immigrated to the United States, he/she may apply for work authorization.