Can Asylum Be Revoked?

Yes. Once your application for asylum has been accepted and you officially receive protection from persecution in the United States, you are classified as an “asylee.” The U.S. government can terminate or revoke this status in certain circumstances. Specifically, it can do so if:

  • You no longer have a legitimate fear of persecution due to a “fundamental change in circumstances.” This is usually a change in leadership, the end of armed conflict, or a significant change in policy in your country that makes it “safe” for you to return to your country.
  • You have obtained protection from another country by making a formal request for asylum there; or the United States has an agreement with the other country that allows it to provide asylum for you.
  • You have committed certain crimes either in or outside the United States; or other acts deemed threatening to the United States.
  • You obtained citizenship in another country.
  • You voluntarily went back to the country where you feared persecution.

Within this context, it is important to note that the U.S. government doesn’t usually pursue this option unless it has sufficient proof that you committed a serious crime here; or that you lied or otherwise engaged in deceitful activity to obtain asylum.

You should also be aware that there are two ways in which asylum can be revoked. According to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), a grant of asylum can either be terminated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or by an immigration judge. Specifically, the BIA says the DHS is solely authorized to revoke asylum when:

  • An asylum officer or district director initially granted the status, not an immigration judge.
  • The person in question is not and has never been in removal (deportation) proceedings.
  • There is sufficient proof that the asylee fraudulently obtained his or her status.

In such cases, DHS issues an official notification called “a notice of intent to terminate asylum,” and then question the asylee about his or her qualifications for asylum.  eligibility, If need be, DHS will then issue “a final written notice of termination.”  Once DHS revokes or terminates asylum removal proceedings can begin. At that point, the person in question can reapply for asylum before the immigration judge.  However, the immigration judge is not authorized to question or review DHS’ termination of the prior asylum grant.

On the other hand, as the BIA explains, an immigration judge can only terminate an individual’s asylee status if:

  • An immigration judge initially granted asylum.
  • The person in question is now in removal/deportation proceedings.

In cases where the person in question is in removal proceedings, DHS can issue a notice of intent to terminate asylum. However, the decision regarding termination of asylee status is made by the immigration judge. If  an immigration judge originally granted the asylum, DHS can try to to reopen proceedings and seek termination of asylum.  However, the actual decision regarding termination of asylum would again be made by the immigration judge.

Due to the complexity of this issue, it is important that you get proper legal advice from a qualified immigration attorney if you are concerned about the potential revocation of your asylum status.