Follow-to-Join Asylees and Refugees

My Asylum Application was approved in the United States, how soon can I bring my family members to the United States?

Your immediate family members can join you through a process called Follow-to-Join: Follow-to-Join is a provision under the United States immigration system that allows immediate family members of refugees or asylees who have already been granted protection in the United States to join them.

Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible for Follow-to-Join, certain criteria must be met:

  1. Qualified Family Relationship: The individual seeking Follow-to-Join must be the spouse or unmarried child (under 21 years old) of the principal refugee or asylee who was granted protection. Petitioner must be able to proof the existence of the claimed qualifying relationship.
  2. Status Verification: The principal refugee or asylee must have their status verified.
  3. Timing: Follow-to-Join applications must be filed within two years of the principal refugee’s arrival in the United States, or within two years of grant of asylum.

The Application Process: The application process for Follow-to-Join involves several steps:

  1. Follow-t-Join Application: The principal refugee or asylee must first file a Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, to initiate the Follow-to-Join process
  2. Visa Interview: Once the I-730 petition(s) is approved, USCIS sends the approved petition to the NVC for visa processing. The beneficiaries are then informed by the US Embassy where their case is about the date and time of the interview.

Challenges and Considerations: While Follow-to-Join should be a straight forward program, it is not without challenges. EHSAN LAW, PLLC has handled denied I-730 petitions. Such denials have been mostly due to the fact that petitioner failed to establish qualifying family relationship. Most asylees/refugees fail to appreciate the importance of working with experienced immigration attorneys. They either initiate the process on their own or hire individuals who are not immigration attorneys. It leads to the case being delayed or denied causing the petitioner asylee/refugee mental burdens and huge financial loss.