3 Things to Know About Asylum

Asylum can be claimed by an individual arriving in the United States who seeks refuge from their home country and fears for their life if they return home. Asylum isn’t an easy case to file or prove. The petitioner must present evidence to an immigration court of actual persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Here are three basic things to know about asylum if one is considering pursuing this option.

When to apply

Typically asylum can be applied for upon entry to the U.S. and for period of up to one year after arrival in the country. In certain cases involving changes in one’s home country, such as a political revolution or military coup against the government or extremist violence against religious or ethnic groups, individuals may file for asylum even if they have been in the U.S. longer than a year. In addition, one may be allowed to file after a year if extraordinary circumstances such as an illness or medical problem prevented an earlier filing. Even if a person entered the U.S. unlawfully, they may still file for asylum if the conditions are satisfied.

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Complete correct form

It is essential that the correct form be filled out. CIS Form I-589, which requires no filing fee, must be properly and completely filled out by the petitioner or her attorney and timely submitted to the correct government office. It can take up to 180 days for the application to be received and processed by Homeland Security, after which the applicant is scheduled for an interview with an asylum officer or immigration judge depending on the specific situation. An immigration judge will interview an individual who is already in removal proceedings. If one is not in removal proceedings, however, the interview should be granted with an  immigration officer.

What to do if denied

If an application for asylum is denied by the judge or immigration officer, then an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals may be filed within the appeal period. Reapplication may also be permitted if there are changes in one’s circumstances since the time of original filing.

Regardless of the situation, and whether or not this is the first attempt at filing for asylum, it is helpful to have experts on your side. Atlanta immigration attorneys Brownstein & Nguyen have decades of experience helping clients in the metro Atlanta area and nationwide with their immigration needs, including asylum petitions. Contact us today with any questions you might have regarding the process and your rights.