“The purpose of this memorandum is to issue guidance on who is considered an immediate family member in the credible fear process, credible fear determinations for immediate family members, and linking related family members in the Asylum Pre-Screening System (APSS).
In the credible fear process, immediate family members are the spouse and any unmarried child under 21 years of age who arrive in the United States concurrently with the principal applicant.
A family member’s claim may provide the basis for all the immediate family members’ credible fear determinations if the immediate family members: (1) arrived in the United States concurrently; and (2) desire to be processed together.2 Even if those two requirements are met, Asylum Offices retain the discretion to process immediate family members together or separately. In addition, immediate family members may opt to present separate credible fear claims, even if they do meet the above requirements, and even if they are physically located together.
Immediate family members may be separated after their concurrent arrival in the United States. If immediate family members are in different locations, Asylum Officers do not have an affirmative duty to attempt to locate those family members. However, Asylum Officers may, in their discretion, attempt to locate family members if doing so does not unreasonably delay the credible fear process (Lafferty, J. Guidance on Immediate Family Members in Credible Fear [Memorandum]. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Refugee, Asylum, and lnternational Operations Directorate, Asylum Division (MS 2100.)”