If you fear returning to your home country because your life or freedom is at risk, you may be eligible to apply for political asylum.
The Immigration & Nationality Act defines a “refugee,” as being an individual who is outside of his/her country of nationality (or, for those without a nationality, outside country last habitually resided), who is unable or unwilling to return to that country and unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Absent certain exceptions, you must apply for asylum within one year of your most recent arrival into the United States.
Applicants must file for asylum with either the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Asylum Division or, if filed after deportation proceedings have commenced, before an Immigration Judge.
You must be prepared to provide detailed information regarding your past activities, associations, experiences of persecution, and current fear of future persecution. They must also provide information on conditions in their home country to support the accuracy of their claim. An asylum applicant will face detailed questioning because ultimately, the burden of proving the claim is on the applicant.
Certain individuals are barred and/or excluded from receiving the protection of asylum, even if otherwise qualified including:
- Individuals who have engaged in the persecution of others;
- Individuals who have been convicted of a “particularly serious crime” and constitute a danger to the community of the United States or if there are serious reasons to believe they committed, a serious nonpolitical crime outside the United States;
- Individuals for whom there are reasonable grounds to regard as a danger to the security of the United States;
- Applicants who have engaged in terrorist activity;
- Applicants who have been “firmly resettled” in another country prior to arriving in the United States; and
- Applicants who failed to file their applications within one year of arrival, absent changed or extraordinary circumstances.
If your asylum application is granted, you will have the right to remain in the US. You will be eligible to apply for legal permanent resident status (“green card”) one year after being granted asylum. Eventually, you may also be eligible to apply for citizenship.
Winning an asylum case requires in-depth knowledge of the complex evidentiary and procedural requirements. With stakes this high, it is critical to have an experienced immigration attorney who will fight for you. To see how we can help you win your asylum claim, contact us today at (213) 739-8889.