Helping Immigrants Seek Asylum in the United States
Asylum is a legal status that offers special legal protections to individuals who fear returning to their home country due to past persecution or have a well-founded fear or persecution due to race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or membership in a specific social group. If granted asylum, you will be allowed remain in the U.S. You are also able to apply for a green card within one year of being approved for asylum.
Asylum can provide a crucial form of protection. However, not everyone qualifies. To be eligible for asylum in the U.S., you must:
- Submit an application for asylum within one year of your arrival to the U.S.
- Prove that you have suffered past persecution or have a well-founded fear of future persecution by the government of your home country or an entity that the government can or will not control.
- Prove that the persecution you would face in your home country is based on your religion, race, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
In some circumstances, you may apply for asylum even if you have been present in the U.S. for more than one year. This is possible if you can prove that extraordinary circumstances prevented you from submitting the application within one year of entering the U.S. or if you can show conditions in your home country have materially changed since you entered the U.S., or if your own personal circumstances have changed such that the threat you will face if you are forced to return to your home country is materially affected. However, even if you meet one of these exceptions, you still must still file within a “reasonable period of time.
How to Obtain Asylum?
There are two main ways to obtain asylum status in the U.S: 1) Affirmative asylum, or through 2) Defensive asylum:
Affirmative Asylum Application
- A person can apply for asylum through an affirmative application directly to USCIS without being placed in removal proceedings.
- This requires submitting an application to USCIS and then attending in an interview at your local USCIS Asylum office.
Defensive Asylum Application
- If you have been placed in removal proceedings and you are defending against deportation from the U.S. In this case the application submitted directly to an immigration court. Once your asylum application is accepted by the immigration court, the immigration judge will set time for an individual hearing where you will defend your claim for asylum.
The process for seeking asylum is serious, complex and complicated. If you are considering filing for asylum you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can explain the process and help you make an informed decision on how to proceed. You can schedule a free consultation at any one of our locations in Maryland, Washington, D.C., or Virginia today at (855) 954-4141.