Asylum is available to people within the United States who fear persecution in their home country on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. To qualify, you must show either past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution. Approval of your application is discretionary, which means that there is no guarantee that your application will be approved even if you demonstrate that you meet the basic requirements.
If your asylum application is granted, you cannot be removed to any country as long as your status is valid. In addition, you can apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status after one year as an asylee.
You may include your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age on your asylum application. If your application is granted, your spouse and children will be granted derivative asylee status.
There are two general ways to apply for asylum. First, you can file an affirmative asylum application with your local asylum office. If this application is denied, you may be referred to the immigration court for removal proceedings. The second method is referred to as a defensive asylum application and involves requesting asylum while you are already in removal proceedings.
If you are detained while entering the United States and you express a fear of returning to your home country, you will be placed in a credible fear interview. If you are determined to have a credible fear of persecution, you will be detained for further consideration of your claim in a removal proceeding.
Some of the key things to keep in mind when applying for asylum:
You must generally apply within one year of entering the United States.
- Exceptions to the one-year rule include changed circumstances in your home country and if extraordinary circumstances caused the delay in your application.
- You cannot apply if you have previously applied for asylum and your application was denied.
- You may need to demonstrate that it is not possible for you to relocate to another part of your home country where you would not be persecuted.
In addition, you are not eligible for asylum if: