Who Is Eligible to Apply for Asylum?

Who Is Eligible to Apply for Asylum
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The United States has long provided protections for people fleeing their home country. Refugees or asylees eligible to apply for asylum in the U.S. must first show they have been persecuted or fear being persecuted where they live.

Per the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA 101(a)(42)), they also must show how any of the following could lead to them being persecuted in their country of origin:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Political opinion

Per the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there is no one definition of persecution. However, it says persecution claims can be considered on a case-by-case basis and that applicants must provide proof to establish them. For example, asylum seekers can show they suffered harm from the government or a government entity they could not control. 

The Benefits of Asylum in the U.S.

Non-U.S. residents who receive asylum status will gain benefits that protect their rights and their lives. They won’t have to worry about being forced to return to their native country. They also can do the following as an asylee:

  • Work legally in the U.S.
  • Apply for a Social Security card and a driver’s license
  • Apply for a permanent resident status (green card) after one year
  • Apply for U.S. citizenship after waiting four years
  • Receive medical and financial assistance from the U.S. government
  • Request permission from the federal government to travel overseas
  • File a petition to sponsor other family members and bring them into the country

To consult with an experienced immigration lawyer today, call 855-780-9986

Applying for Asylum in the United States

While people can apply for asylum regardless of how they entered the United States or their immigration status upon entry, the process of applying for asylum in the U.S. will depend on the person’s circumstances.

There are two processes to consider for securing asylum status. One is the affirmative process, and the other is the defensive process.

The Affirmative Process for Asylum Seekers

If you or a loved one meets the definition of a “refugee,” as outlined in the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA 101(a)(42)), you will apply for asylum using Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. You must do this within one year of your arrival unless exceptions apply.

Per the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you can file Form I-589 only if you are:

  • Already physically present in the United States and are not a U.S. citizen
  • Located along the border of any port of entry into the country 

There is no fee to apply for asylum. If you have a spouse and dependent children under 21 years old who are also physically in the United States, you can include them on your application until you receive a final decision about your application.

The Defensive Process for Asylum Seekers

Some asylum seekers may have to complete the defensive asylum process if:

  • They were denied protective status during the affirmative process.
  • They were moved from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

If either one of these scenarios describes your situation, you will receive a Form I-862, Notice to Appear (NTA) must appear in immigration court. When you appear, you must present your case to an immigration judge, who can decide its outcome independent of the decision from USCIS. 

You don’t have to appear in court alone without legal representation. An asylum immigration lawyer can interpret federal immigration law and protect your rights. You should be aware that an attorney from ICE will likely represent the U.S. government, so securing legal representation could help your case.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help an Asylum Seeker’s Legal Case

Asylum seekers should expect the process to take considerable time. U.S. immigration laws are complex and can be hard to follow. Thousands of people file applications yearly to obtain asylum status, so much patience is required. According to the USCIS, the Asylum Division received 34,066 affirmative asylum applications between October 2022 and November 2022 alone. 

You can consider hiring an asylum immigration attorney to guide you through the asylum immigration maze of applications, forms, petitions, hearings, and interviews. Legal representation can save you time, help you avoid common errors, and ensure someone is looking out for your interests.

An attorney will work to obtain a favorable outcome for you. This includes:

  • Explaining your legal rights and options for asylum, including your eligibility to apply for asylum protections
  • Establishing an essential part of your asylum claim by showing you have been persecuted or have a fear of persecution
  • Collecting essential documentation to support your claims
  • Outlining potential challenges to your case
  • Advocating for a favorable outcome and ensuring you receive fair treatment
  • Establishing timelines for your case and meeting all deadlines
  • Filing important legal paperwork, including necessary forms
  • Leading your appeal if we must challenge the immigration judge’s decision
  • Monitoring your case’s status, ensuring your materials are error-free
  • Helping you prepare for immigration interviews, court appearances, etc. 
  • Ensuring you have what you need during the process
  • Regularly updating you on your case’s status 

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Call Bogin, Munns & Munns for a Free Consultation About Asylum Eligibility

Bogin, Munns & Munns has more than 40 years of experience helping Central Florida’s residents pursue favorable outcomes that improve their lives. This includes people seeking a better life by moving to the United States legally. Our asylum immigration attorneys offer a free initial consultation for refugees and asylees seeking legal protections in the U.S. We can tell you if you can apply for asylum and eligibility requirements.

Whether you are applying for affirmative or defensive asylum, we know immigration cases can be complex. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start working for you. We will draw from decades of legal experience to help you and your family. You can reach out to us to get answers about your specific situation. Call our legal team today for a free initial consultation. 

Call or text 855-780-9986 or submit our Consultation Request form today



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