Asylum

Humanitarian Relief for those fleeing prosecution: Asylum, Withholding, Convention Against Torture

In general, anyone physically present in the United States who has suffered persecution or fears future persecution in his or her home country on grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership in particular social group, or political opinion may apply for asylum protection in the United States.

General Eligibility Requirements:

  • Applicant must establish that he or she is unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality, or last habitual residence if the person has no nationality because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution;
  • Applicant must demonstrate that the persecution or well-founded fear of future persecution he or she suffers is on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in particular social group, or political opinion. That is, the applicant must demonstrate a nexus between the protected ground and persecution.
  • Applicant must show that he or she is unable to avoid such persecution or threat of persecution by internal relocation.
  • Applicant must show that he or she merits a favorable exercise of discretion.

General Bars to Eligibility

  • Engagement in persecution of others;
  • Firm resettlement in a third country;
  • Previous asylum applications, if denied;
  • Failure to file within a year of arrival in the United States, unless applicant can establish a change of circumstances or extraordinary reasons for untimely filing;
  • Aggravated felony convictions;
  • Convictions for a particular serious crime, including aggravated felonies and crimes of violence;
  • Posing a danger to national security threat;
  • Commission of a serious nonpolitical crime

Procedure

An asylum application is filed using Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. It must be filed within one year of arrival to the United States. Substantial probative documentation must be submitted with the application.

Affirmative Asylum

  • Where the applicant is not in removal proceedings, the asylum application is considered to be affirmative, and it is file with the Asylum Office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • After submitting the asylum application, the applicant will be scheduled for a fingerprinting appointment.
  • Upon completion of the background and security checks, the applicant will be scheduled for an interview with an Asylum Officer who will determine eligibility.
  • Where asylum is not granted, the applicant will be served with a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge, who will review the case de novo.

Defensive Asylum

  • If the asylum seeker has been placed in removal proceeding through the filing of a Notice to Appear with an immigration court, the application is defensive, and eligibility is determined by an immigration judge.
  • The individual seeking asylum may be represented by an immigration law attorney.
  • The asylum seeker will be scheduled for a fingerprinting appointment before the final individual hearing.
  • Where applicable, the immigration judge may alternatively consider the individual’s eligibility for withholding of removal and protection under the U.N. Convention Against Torture.
  • A denial decision by the immigration judge may be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Benefits of an Asylum Grant

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