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Who is eligible for asylum in the United States?

| Feb 10, 2021 | Immigration Law

When people fear persecution, applying for asylum may allow them to find safety and new opportunities in the United States. However, not everyone qualifies for asylum in the U.S.A. What requirements must a person meet in order to qualify for asylum?

What is asylum?

Asylum provides protection to people fleeing persecution. People who are granted asylum can remain in the United States, apply for jobs, apply for government programs and a social security card, apply for permanent residency and petition to bring their family to the country.

In the United States, a person can apply for one of two types of asylum:

  • Affirmative asylum—If a person is already in the United States, they may qualify for affirmative asylum. Generally, applications for this type of asylum must have been in the country for less than one year.
  • Defensive asylum—If an undocumented immigrant faces deportation, application for defensive asylum allows them to bring their case before an immigration judge to determine whether they qualify for asylum.

Who qualifies for asylum in the United States?

First, applicants for asylum must be in the United States or at a port of entry. You cannot apply for asylum from outside U.S. borders.

Applicants must have been in the United States for less than one year in most cases. You may qualify for an exception if your application was delayed by extraordinary circumstances or if circumstances changed that changed your eligibility for asylum.

As a part of the application process, applicants for asylum must show their credible fear of persecution in their home country. In order to qualify, this persecution must be based on their nationality, race, religious beliefs, political beliefs or membership in a social or political group.

If you wonder whether you or a loved one qualifies for asylum, you may want to speak to an experienced immigration law attorney about your case.