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What does it mean to seek asylum in the United States?

On Behalf of | Sep 11, 2023 | Immigration Law

When someone seeks asylum in the United States, it is because they have suffered or fear that they will suffer oppression, tyranny, harassment or discrimination in their country of origin. The fear must be credible and reasonable. Asylum seekers are typically people from countries suffering from political conflict, civil unrest or weak leadership. If you are a foreign national who fears their life is at risk in their own home, you may seek asylum and see whether you qualify.

Who can seek asylum in the United States?

To seek asylum, you must be a foreign national who is already present in the U.S. or pursuing admission into the U.S. at a port of entry. It is a form of protection the U.S. government may grant an individual who can prove they cannot return to their country or are unwilling to return to their country because they face persecution due to the following reasons:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Social affiliation
  • Political beliefs

You must apply for asylum within one year of your last arrival to the United States. The U.S. government grants asylum to individuals at its discretion, meaning they may deny asylum even when you meet the legal qualifications. Those seeking asylum must undergo a challenging and complex process involving several government agencies.

The benefits of seeking asylum

Once the U.S. government grants you asylum status, you will be an asylee with all the applicable benefits. It can be the beginning of your road to American citizenship. You may even apply a petition for your spouse and kids to come with you to the land of the free.