The U.S. government offers humanitarian assistance to individuals who seek
shelter from persecution in their home country. Asylum allows a foreign
national to stay in the United States indefinitely and provided the opportunity
to work and apply for a green card.
An asylum seeker needs to prove that he or she has a well-founded fear
of persecution based on one or more of the following five grounds:
- Political opinion
- Membership in a specific social group, such as the LGBTQ community
Persecution, in this particular instance, is considered mistreatment which
is inflicted either directly by the government cannot, or by individuals
whom the government cannot or will not control. This means to harass,
injure, oppress, punish, or otherwise cause someone to suffer physical
or psychological harm.
Applying for Asylum Status
How you apply for asylum status depends on whether you are at a U.S. border
or entry point, such as an airport, or already in the country.
If you’re at the U.S. border or airport and have a valid visa or
entry document, you can use that for asylum without raising any issues.
If, on the contrary, the U.S. officials do not allow you to enter the
country, you can explain that you fear returning to your home country
and request to apply for asylum.
Next, you may be placed in a detention facility while you wait to be sent
to a “credible fear” hearing with a USCIS asylum officer,
which typically occurs within a day or two. Keep in mind, the officer
is only there determine if you truly seem to be scared of persecution
and deserve to have to judge hear your case--not approve your request
If you convince the asylum officer that you have a credible fear of persecution,
you will receive the opportunity to see an Immigration Judge (IJ) and
convince him or her that you qualify for asylum in the United States.
If the officer doesn’t believe you have enough to make a successful
asylum case, you will be deported from the U.S., unless you ask an IJ
to reconsider your circumstances.
If you do, the judge needs to make a decision within seven days. If the
IJ disagrees with the asylum officer and believes you have enough evidence
for a successful asylum case, you will have a chance to prove it in immigration
court. If, however, the judge agrees with the officer, you will be deported
without any opportunity to appeal.
On the other hand, if you successfully make through a border or entry point
and into the country, you will have up to a year to apply for asylum and
start the process. You must first fill out USCIS Form I-589 and mail it
to USCIS along with other documents you will be required to provide. A
detailed affidavit, which contains specific facts that you need to be
prepared to orally explain, is also included.
Other documents which may back up your claim include:
- Newspaper article about your arrest
- Medical records showing injuries sustained from being beaten or tortured
- A group membership card
- Conditions in the country you fled from
Then you will be scheduled to attend an interview, along with your attorney,
at the USCIS asylum office to determine if your case will be seen in immigration
court. The wait for asylum interview exceeds
Due to the complexities of the immigration system regarding asylum, it
is critical to seek legal representation from an experienced immigration
Santa Barbara immigration lawyer at
Appel & Morse have more than 30 years of collective experience helping individuals like
yourself overcome the legal obstacles.
Contact us and schedule a
free consultation today.