Understanding US Asylum Eligibility

Asylum is relief granted to a person who has fled their country of origin and is seeking to be allowed to remain in the US. Asylum is granted to those who are seeking to escape persecution in their country of origin.

There are two distinct types of asylum: affirmative and defensive asylum.

Affirmative Asylum

For an applicant to obtain asylum through this process, he or she is required to be physically present in the U.S when submitting his or her asylum request. You are allowed to submit an application and be considered for affirmative asylum regardless of the method used to gain entry into the country.

Defensive Asylum

A defensive asylum application is submitted when requesting asylum as a defense against being removed from the country.

For the asylum application to be considered as defensive, you should be in removal proceedings in an immigration court.

Eligibility Requirements for Applying and Being Granted Asylum

If you would like to request asylum in the U.S, you can do so at any point of entry. It could be at a seaport, airport, or a legal border crossing. You are required to fill and file form I-589 so as to begin the process.  You can also request asylum after having entered the US.

According to USCIS, in order to be granted asylum, you must be able to demonstrate that you have faced persecution or that you reasonably fear persecution in your previous country of residence and/or nationality due to one or more of the following factors:

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

You will have to present a significant amount of evidence to prove that you are in danger of persecution due to the above factors, including in a face to face interview with an immigration officer.

You must initiate the asylum process within one year after your arrival in the United States.

If you fail to do within the stipulated time, you can still be eligible if you can prove that:

  1. Circumstances changed which affected your asylum eligibility
  2. There were extraordinary circumstances that delayed your filing

As you prepare to apply for asylum, it is also important to learn about the factors that can disqualify you from being granted asylum. These automatic bars include:

A Person Who Has Assisted the Persecution of Others

As an applicant, the government can deny you asylum if you have ever participated in or ordered the persecution of another individual. Persecution can be in the form of; religion, race, nationality or even political opinion.

If You Pose a Threat to the Safety of the U.S

Numerous aspects of your background will be analyzed in order to determine if you could potentially pose a threat to US national security. Additionally, if you have been convicted of a crime that the US considers to be an “aggravated felony,” such as rape or murder, or some other “particularly serious crime,” you will be disqualified from asylum eligibility.

Each asylum application will be taken on a case-by-case basis, so it is vital that you enlist the services of a skilled immigration attorney to help you present your case for asylum in the best and most effective possible manner. It can be an extremely complex process, and the guidance of a trained and knowledgeable attorney is invaluable to your potential success. Contact the law office of Saleh and Associates today if you need information regarding the asylum process.


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