Under U.S. law, asylum may be granted to foreign nationals who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of:
- Membership in a particular social group
- Political opinion
Facts Behind Asylum
The burden of proving past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution is completely on the alien seeking asylum. An individual who fears torture may also qualify for relief. There are no quotas assigned to the number of refugees who can be accepted each year.
Who Is Eligible
Aliens who are currently in the U.S. for less than one year (with some exceptions)
Aliens who are currently in their home country. In both situations, the alien must be part of an eligible Asylum class (i.e. persecuted due to political affiliation, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social group affiliation etc.) If you are arriving in the U.S., you may ask for asylum at the port of entry (i.e. airport, seaport, border crossing, etc.) If you are already in the U.S. you or your attorney must prepare and file an application for Asylum and/or Withholding of Removal within a year of your arrival, whether you are residing in the country legally or undocumented. Some exceptions that allow you to file for asylum more than one year after arrival in U.S.
There are a number of firms who offer asylum assistance to those facing persecution. The asylum lawyers at SGM Law Group our primary focus is with complex cases. We have an extensive track record of providing clients with top-notch legal service at a competitive legal fee. It’s important to note that there are many uncertainties when dealing with USCIS and the federal court system. While there are no guarantees of winning a case, we do our best to ensure the best possible outcome.
Visa Duration & Renewability
The asylum status can be held indefinitely. However, the work authorization must be renewed on a yearly basis.
Immediate family members may be eligible for asylum status with all its benefits such as work authorization, as long as they have been named in the alien’s asylum application; even if any family members are not present in the U.S. at the time the application is filed. This includes your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age.
Asylum Frequent Asked Questions
Q. If I was convicted of a crime, can I still apply for asylum?
You can apply although depending on the nature of your crime, you may not receive asylum. On Form I-589 you are required to disclose any criminal history as well as during the asylum interview. If you are found to have provided false information you may face fines and even possible imprisonment for perjury.
Q. Am I allowed to file for asylum if I’m in the country illegally?
If you are in the United States illegally you can still apply for asylum if it’s within 1 year of the last arrival or if you’re able to demonstrate an exception due to your circumstances.
Q. What is the asylum fee?
USCIS does not mandate any asylum fee. There may, however, be attorney fees incurred for services rendered. An asylum lawyer will be better able to explain the details pertaining to your case.
Q. What criteria does the asylum officer use to determine eligibility?
The judge or officer conducting the interview takes a number of factors into consideration when evaluating your case. This includes your fear of persecution, home conditions, past criminal history, etc. An asylum lawyer can better explain the factors that may be of relevance to your case.
Do I Need An Attorney?
It can be very difficult to prove that you experienced persecution since much of the evidence remains in your home country. However, an experienced asylum attorney can assist you in collecting the evidence and presenting your case to either the asylum officer or immigration judge reviewing your case, thus greatly increasing your chances of obtaining asylum in the U.S. Many areas of asylum law are very technical and can be difficult to understand and address properly in your application without the assistance of an asylum lawyer. The process revolves around the following points:
- You must meet the eligibility criteria for asylum as dictated by USCIS.
- You must be able to provide the required documentation as well as any supporting witnesses or corroborating evidence.
- You must have a prepared declaration of persecution. An asylum attorney can help you complete every step of the process.
Choosing an Asylum Lawyer
At SGM Law Group, we have successfully helped many clients obtain asylum in the U.S. at all stages of the asylum process. Our attorneys can explain the definition of a refugee and the qualifications you need to meet in order to be granted asylum. We have successfully obtained asylum for people from many countries, allowing them to legally reside in the United States. We are dedicated to both helping people escape persecution in their home countries as well as securing them a safe haven here in the U.S.
Skype consultations with an asylum lawyer are available!