Can I claim asylum?

You may have heard of people gaining the right to stay in the United States by claiming asylum and wonder if it would work for you. It may do, but only if you meet the specific requirements.

You need to show that you are at risk of persecution if you return to your home country. That persecution needs to be based on one of the following categories:

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

Fearing that someone will kill you if you ever go back to your country because you owe them money or due to a personal grudge will not be successful. 

When can I claim asylum?

There are two types of asylum: defensive and affirmative. Here are the differences:

  • Defensive asylum: This means you claim it to stop the authorities from deporting you. As time is crucial here, you will need legal help to build your case straight away.
  • Affirmative asylum: You claim this before things get to the point where you face deportation. You have one year to apply once you arrive in the U.S. You cannot claim before you are here, but there are other processes for that.

To apply, you should fill out an I-589 form. You will then need to attend an interview with immigration officials and provide a translator to accompany you if required.

Applying for asylum is complex, and even if you believe you meet the requirements, it does not mean the U.S. immigration authorities will agree. If you believe you have a chance, then find out more to assess your possibilities and understand your next steps.

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