In the field of immigration law, asylum refers to a type of protected status – similar to refugee status – that allows you to remain in a country because you would face personal danger by returning to your home country. You might seek asylum if you are under persecution on the basis of race, religion or other affiliation.
As an immigrant coming into the United States for the first time, the possibility of asylum could be the only thing that helps you and your family feel safe. For that reason, it is important to know whether or not you can qualify for this status.
What are the requirements for asylum?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) outlines the eligibility requirements for immigrants seeking asylum. You must be at a port of entry or within the United States to apply, and you must apply within one year of your arrival in the country. You can only exceed the one-year deadline if you can prove an extraordinary circumstance is responsible for your delay in filing.
How do I apply for asylum?
You can begin the asylum process regardless of your immigration status by contacting the USCIS and filling out the necessary forms. You may also express an intention for asylum during removal proceedings by passing a credible fear screening. During the application process, you will list your spouse and any children under the age of 21 as dependents for them to receive asylum as well.
Receiving asylum or refugee status in the United States is a matter of protection from cruel or torturous treatment in your country of origin. If you file in a timely manner and prove that your fear of persecution is legitimate, you will be likely to qualify for asylum. An experienced immigration attorney can help walk you through the process and increase your chances of a successful application.