Asylum in the USA

Asylum in the USA is a discretionary form of humanitarian relief for people seeking safety and protection from persecution and fear of future persecution in their home country.

Asylum in the USA lets asylum seekers and eligible family members live in the United States with legal status.

Grounds for Asylum

US asylum laws make asylum relief available to people that have suffered persecution in their home country based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.  These are grounds for asylum.

There are two ways to seek asylum in the United States. These are affirmative asylum and defensive asylum. In order to seek affirmative asylum in the US, you must apply to USCIS (Form I-589 Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal) with evidence of your persecution, copy of your passport and copies of your civil documents. The asylum application does not require government fees.

Affirmative asylum requires you to be physically present in the United States. You must apply for asylum in the US within one year from the date of your last entry into the United States. Once you apply, you will receive a confirmation letter with a receipt number. You may use the receipt number to check the status of your application online. The processing times are typically long due to the current changes in immigration policy and the number of asylum seekers in the USA. Currently, the wait time for an asylum interview is around four years.

Defensive asylum is a defense against removal proceedings. In many different circumstances, an individual can be placed in removal proceedings. When this happens, a defensive asylum application can be presented in the immigration court and reviewed by an immigration judge. You may be removed if the immigration judge denies your defensive asylum. However, you can still appeal a denial of your defensive asylum application before you are deported.

Yes. You may include your spouse and children who are with you in the United States in your asylum application at the time you apply. Your children may be included if they are under 21 years old and unmarried. You can also add them later but before the final decision on your case.

Yes. You may apply for employment authorization (EAD) 150 days after you apply for asylum if your case has not been decided. If you have not received a decision on your asylum application, you will receive the EAD after 180 days of applying for asylum.

In order to apply for work authorization, you must apply for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) to USCIS with the government fees and supporting documentation. Once approved, you will receive an employment authorization card and a social security card in the mail. The EAD card will have an expiration date. About three months before the expiration date, you need to apply to renew your EAD to continue working legally in the United States while your asylum application is pending.

Asylum seekers with approved asylum applications can legally reside in the United States with their eligible family members. They can also work and go to school legally in the United States. Asylum seekers can apply for a green card one year after their asylum application is approved.

In summary, the benefits for asylum seekers in the United States are that eligible family members can live and work in the United States once the asylum is approved.  Many asylum seekers can also work while their case is pending.  The children of asylum seekers can also go to public school.

Individuals with approved asylum applications cannot vote in the elections.  It is also crucial that asylum seekers and people with approved asylum applications do not return to their home country where they fled due to persecution.

The asylum applications usually take years to be adjudicated. However, once you submit it, you should be prepared to be scheduled for an interview. During the interview, the USCIS officer will ask a series of questions about your application and render the decision by mail.

If your asylum application is approved, then you must wait a year to apply for the green card.

You must submit form I-485 with the government fees and supporting documentation to USCIS. You must submit a separate application packet for you and each of your family members that received asylum as your derivatives in your application. Once an immigration officer reviews the case, you and your family members will be scheduled for an in-person interview to go over the documentation and the questions on the application. If everything is in order, your green card will be approved.

If, after the interview, the USCIS officer does not approve your asylum, the case will be sent to the immigration court. The immigration judge will schedule you for a hearing on the merits by taking another look at your case. After the court hearing, the judge will make a final determination about your asylum claim. If the immigration judge does grant your asylum application, then an order of removal will be put in place. To read more about removal or deportation proceedings, click here.

If your green card is approved, you may petition to bring your spouse and children that live outside of the U.S. In order to qualify for a green card; your children must be under 21 years old and unmarried.

Our office recommends that you seek the help of our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys. Contact our office today for an initial consultation.

How Terra Immigration Helps

Professional help by an experienced asylum lawyer is the best way to seek asylum in the USA.  US Asylum laws pose significant challenges, and a competent asylum lawyer can guide you through the process.

As a client, you will receive a thorough analysis of your situation. Our experienced asylum attorneys help you submit strong asylum applications.  We prepare you for the interview, and we also accompany you to the asylum interview.

Let’s talk about your immigration case. Contact us to talk to an immigration attorney.