Who may apply for asylum?
Asylum may be granted to people who are arriving in or are already physically present in the United States and have fear of returning their country of residence. To apply for asylum in the United States, you may ask for asylum at a port-of-entry (airport, seaport, or land border crossing), or within one year of your admission or entry to the United States. You may apply for asylum regardless of your immigration status, and regardless of whether you are in the United States legally or illegally.
According to the immigration law, you must apply for asylum within one year of your last arrival in the United States. You may also apply for asylum later than one year if there are changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances directly related to your failure to apply within one year. These may include changes in conditions in your country, certain changes in your own circumstances, and certain other events. We strongly recommend you consult with an immigration attorney before filing an I-589 Asylum Application, especially if you have been in the United States for more than one (1) year.
Who is ineligible to apply for asylum?
You will be barred from applying for asylum if :
- you did not apply for asylum within one (1) year of your last arrival in the United States. Exceptions to this rule: The applicant demonstrates either the existence of changed circumstances (example: changes in conditions in the applicant’s country of nationality) which materially affect the applicant’s eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances (example: serious illness or mental or physical disability, ineffective assistance of attorney or so-called notario or paralegal) relating to the delay in filing. Proving exceptions to the one year deadline requires complex legal analysis with the consideration of evidence, for which it is strongly recommended that you consult with an immigration attorney;
- you previously applied for asylum and your application was denied by the Immigration Judge or Board of Immigration Appeals (exceptions: you may demonstrate that there are changed circumstances, whether personal, in your country of nationality or in the law, which materially affect your eligibility for asylum);
- you could be removed to a safe third country pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement;
- you have ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion;
- you were convicted of a particularly serious crime (including an aggravated felony as defined under INA § 101(a)(43));
- committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside the United States;
- you pose a danger to the security of the United States;
- you have been firmly resettled in another country prior to arriving in the United States;
- you have engaged in terrorist activity; or
- you are engaged in or are likely to engage after entry in any terrorist activity (a consular officer or the Attorney General knows, or has reasonable grounds to believe, that this is the case);
- you have, under any circumstances, an intention to cause death or serious bodily harm;
- you are or have ever been a member of a terrorist organization;
- you have received military-type training from or on behalf of any organization that, at the time the training was received by you, was a terrorist organization.
What is filing fee?
There is no fee to apply for asylum.
How is my case decided?
The Asylum Officer or Immigration Judge will determine if you are eligible for asylum by evaluating whether you meet the definition of a refugee. The definition, in section 101(a)(42)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), states that a refugee is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to and avail himself or herself of the protection of his or her home country or, if stateless, country of last habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The determination of whether you meet the definition of a refugee will be based on information you provide on your application and during an interview with an Asylum Officer or at a hearing before an Immigration Judge.
Who is eligible for asylum?
- any person who is outside of any country of such person’s nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
- For purposes of determinations under the Immigration Law, a person who has been forced to abort a pregnancy or to undergo involuntary sterilization, or who has been persecuted for failure or refusal to undergo such a procedure or for other resistance to a coercive population control program, shall be deemed to have been persecuted on account of political opinion, and a person who has a well founded fear that he or she will be forced to undergo such a procedure or subject to persecution for such failure, refusal, or resistance shall be deemed to have a well founded fear of future persecution on account of political opinion.
Bringing Your Family to the United States
If you are granted asylum you may petition to bring your spouse and children to the United States. To include your child on your application, the child must be under 21 and unmarried at the time when you applied for asylum.
You must file the petition within two years of being granted asylum unless there are humanitarian reasons to excuse this deadline. There is no fee to file this petition.
Filing for Permanent Residence (Green Card)
You may apply for a green card one year after being granted asylum. You must submit a separate application for adjustment of status for yourself and, if applicable, for each family member who received derivative asylum status based on your case.
Can the information provided by you in your asylum application be revealed?
The information and documents you submit to USCIS will be used to make a determination on your application for asylum and may be provided only to other government agencies (Federal, State, local, and/or foreign) for purposes of investigation or legal action on criminal and/or civil matters and for issues arising form the adjudication of immigration benefits. However, no information indicating that you have applied for asylum will be provided to any government or country from which you claim a fear of persecution.
The information contained herein does not establish an attorney-client relationship and does not constitute legal advice. Prior results depend on a number of factors unique to each matter and do not guarantee a similar outcome.