Asylum

Why can a person apply for asylum?

If the person has suffered or legitimately fears they will suffer in the future persecution or discrimination in their country of origin, they may be eligible to apply for asylum in the United States.

Who will not be able to apply for asylum?

To apply for asylum, the applicant must not be a danger to the United States, have been convicted of certain crimes, have been a member of or aided a terrorist group, have lived in another safe country for a significant period of time before arriving in the U.S. (with certain exceptions), committed a serious non-political crime outside of the U.S., or assisted, ordered, or participated in the persecution of another person.

For what reasons can a person be persecuted or discriminated against?

The reasons why people suffer persecution or discrimination in their country are because of their race, sex, religion, nationality, political ideas or because they belong to a “particular social group”.

Who may cause persecution or discrimination?

Persecution or discrimination that violates the rights or physical safety, to which the person is subject to, must come from a member or entity of the government of the country of origin or from an individual or group of their country of which the government cannot or will not protect them from.

How may persecution or discrimination be carried out?

To qualify for asylum, the persecution or discrimination must be substantial – examples: human rights violations, harassment, torture, illegal arrest or imprisonment, physical violence, or inflicting serious emotional distress.

When is the asylum application made?

The person who alleges persecution or discrimination, regardless of their immigration status, must submit an application for asylum within one year of the last entry to the United States with certain exceptions. Also, asylum can be applied for by a person at a port of entry to the U.S. or at the border applying for admission.

What is the asylum application called?

The asylum application that the person must submit is Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.

What must accompany the application?

The asylum application must be submitted with documentary proof of the persecution or discrimination alleged by the person.

Who can be included in the asylum application?

The asylum seeker can include their spouse and children in the application.

What happens once the request is made?

Once the application is submitted, the person will receive an acknowledgment of receipt and an appointment at the nearest center to have their fingerprints taken. Then, they will have to undergo an asylum interview. Afterwards, they will be assigned a date to return to the office to find out if their application was approved or denied. The determination regarding the request will be given to them in writing. The asylum application may be denied, but it is possible to appeal the denial to an immigration judge.

Who can accompany the person to the interview?

The applicant can be accompanied by their lawyer, if they wish, and an interpreter, if necessary due to not being proficient in English.

What happens during the interview?

At the interview, a U.S. asylum officer from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Asylum Office will ask the person several questions regarding the information placed on the application. Also, the officer may ask questions about information not included in said request. The questions asked will be very detailed.

Learn more about the asylum interview process https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-and-asylum/asylum/preparing-for-your-asylum-interview

How long does the decision regarding the application take?

The rule is that an asylum application is answered within two weeks subject to certain exceptions that could delay the decision.

What must an applicant do to be able to look for work?

After submitting your asylum application and once it is approved, the applicant will have to wait 150 days to apply for a work permit with which they will obtain their social security number. Once asylum is granted, the person can start working immediately.

What can a person do after they get asylum?

If they are granted asylum, after one year of obtaining its approval, the person will be able to apply for their Legal Permanent Residence.

What can a person do after obtaining their Legal Permanent Residence?

If they are granted Legal Permanent Residence, they could apply for their U.S. citizenship five years later.

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