Can You Apply for Asylum on a Tourist Visa?

If you are worried about your safety in your home country and are seeking asylum in the U.S., you might be wondering if you can apply for asylum while on a tourist visa. This is a complex question with no straightforward answer. In this article, we’ll explore the topic and try to provide some helpful insights.

Key Takeaways

  • Traveling to the United States on a tourist visa may not be considered a fraudulent act as long as you have no intention to seek asylum when you enter the country.
  • You can apply for asylum on a tourist visa, but it might be tough to convince the asylum officer that you didn’t enter the US knowing that you would apply for asylum.
  • It is possible for tourists to change their status from within the United States, but it’s a case-by-case determination, and there are no guarantees.

Now, let’s delve into the topic and provide you with more information.

Can You Apply for Asylum on a Tourist Visa?

It’s possible to apply for asylum on a tourist visa. However, when you apply for a tourist visa, you are declaring that you are coming to the United States for a specific purpose, such as for vacation or to attend a conference. If you intend to seek asylum, the intention of your trip is changed.

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Some asylum seekers believe that if they apply for a tourist visa and then change their intention after entering the U.S., it is acceptable. However, the U.S government has rules in place to exclude any misrepresentation. So, if you enter on a tourist visa without intending to seek asylum, your application won’t be considered fraudulent.

Is it Fraudulent to Enter the US on a Tourist Visa and Apply for Asylum?

It’s not inherently fraudulent to apply for asylum on a tourist visa. However, you cannot gain entry to the U.S. by misrepresenting your reasons for entering the country. If you apply for a tourist visa, you must have the correct intentions. Trying to enter under false pretenses can end up getting you barred from the country.

How Can You Apply for Asylum on a Tourist Visa?

To apply for asylum on a tourist visa, you must submit Form I-589, Application for Asylum, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) once you are in the country. This form explains your reasons for seeking asylum and provides background information about you, your country of origin and the conditions that made you leave.

Changing Status for Asylum Seekers

If you are in the United States on a tourist visa and have decided to apply for asylum, you might be able to change your visa status from within the U.S. You can apply for a visa status change while your tourist visa is still valid. However, it’s important to note that changing to a different status can take time and requires a valid legal basis.

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If you’re planning to enter the United States on a tourist visa and then apply for asylum, it’s essential to be transparent about your intentions from the outset. Entering the US under fraudulent pretenses or misrepresenting your travel purpose can have severe consequences. If you’re unsure of your legal standing, it might be worth speaking to an immigration lawyer before taking any action.


Q: How long does it take to get asylum in the United States?

A: The time it takes to get asylum in the U.S may vary depending on your case’s complexity. Typically, it can take anywhere from six months to several years to get a decision.

Q: Can you work while applying for asylum?

A: Once you apply for asylum and after waiting 180 days, you will be eligible to apply for employment authorization.

Q: Can I be deported while my asylum case is pending?

A: If your asylum case is in the pending status, you cannot be deported from the United States. You will be allowed to stay in the U.S. until you have been granted asylum or otherwise deported.

About the Author

Latasha W. Bolt

Latasha is a travel writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a degree in journalism and has been traveling the world since she was a teenager. Latasha is experienced in navigating the visa and passport application process and shares her knowledge and experiences on the blog. Her articles are personal and engaging, providing readers with a unique perspective on the joys and challenges of international travel.

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