What is Asylum?

Asylum is the legal protection afforded by the United States government to a person who can demonstrate a “well-founded fear of persecution” based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Asylee’s are distinguished from refugees by their presence in the country. They are seeking protection from deportation after having entered the United States, legally or illegally.

The opportunity to apply for asylum is offered to both refugees outside the United States and people who have entered the country illegally. Those who can demonstrate a credible fear of returning to their home country due to past persecution based on any of the five protected grounds may receive status in the United States. However, status is never guaranteed.

Applying for Asylum

If you are considered an asylee, you can submit your application for asylum at a port of entry or directly to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). Depending on your situation, you can apply for affirmative asylum or defensive asylum processing within the United States. With some very limited exceptions, your affirmative asylum application must be filed within one year of your entry into the United States This is done on the USCIS Form I-589 and is best accomplished with the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer.

Applying for Asylum is a detailed and complicate process. It is highly recommended that you obtain legal advice from an attorney experienced in handling asylum cases.

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