A friend of mine obtained political asylum here in the USA about a year ago. Now due to family circumstances (death in the family) he wishes to visit his native country X, from which he's a refugee. Technically speaking, he doesn't have to go; but it concerns his close family, so there's a very strong sense for him to be there.

Can he travel to his country of origin without jeopardizing his refugee status? I mean, he sought asylum due to conditions that presented threat to his and his immediate family's life and well-being. He's afraid that traveling back, albeit for a short visit and for a family reason, may be viewed as contradicting his reasons for seeking asylum.

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    Returning to his country of origin will indeed jeopardize his refugee status, and in exactly the way you describe. Your friend is already on record saying his life is in danger in that country; traveling to that country now proclaims there's no risk, or that the risk is acceptable to him. Either statement refutes his prior claim for asylum, and will most likely cause his asylum status to be revoked. (I'm a retired attorney, and this is presented as a comment not an answer because I have no first—hand experience with this aspect of the US immigration system.) Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 16:14
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    Has he become a permanent resident yet? Or is he still in asylee status?
    – user102008
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 16:22
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    @zipirovich, that's a big challenge: if he's not thinking straight, then by definition he can't make an informed and intelligent assessment about what to do...or not do. I'm glad he has friends looking out for him. Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 17:13
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    @zipirovich: Is the situation that was causing him to be afraid of going back to his country the same as when he got asylum and permanent residency? Or did the situation change after he got permanent residency such that he is no longer afraid of going back now? If the latter, it's possible for his status to not be affected.
    – user102008
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 17:37
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    It would really be a good idea to talk to an immigration lawyer before doing something so risky, especially one with experience in asylum law.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 2:06

1 Answer 1


He would be taking a very, very, very big risk.

He has refugee status presumably because being in his own country would be a risk for his life. If he is willing to return to his own country to attend a funeral, then this is obviously a total contradiction to his claims that he made to get refugee status. So trying to return, he might be in for a nasty surprise.

And if he rightfully received refugee status, then returning to his home country is obviously dangerous and it means risking his life.

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