How can I seek asylum in the United States of America?

Individuals from various countries aspire to seek asylum in the United States of America. The process can be complex and challenging, but one can potentially navigate it successfully with the right knowledge and guidance.

Considering the following information about how to seek asylum in the U.S. can help those who need refuge to make more informed choices about their options.

What is asylum?

Asylum is a legal status granted to people fleeing their home country due to persecution based on race, membership in a particular social group, religion, nationality or political beliefs. It allows them to seek protection and refuge in the United States.

There are two main types of asylum, the first one being affirmative asylum. This process is for individuals who are not in removal proceedings. To apply affirmatively, one must file Form I-589 within one year of their arrival in the United States. There’s also defensive asylum, which is sought by individuals who are already in removal proceedings. In this case, one can apply for asylum as a defense against deportation.

Eligibility criteria

Before pursuing asylum in the USA, it’s essential to understand the eligibility criteria. To begin with, one must prove that they have a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country. Additionally, one must file their asylum application within one year of their arrival in the United States. However, if one passes through a safe third country before reaching the USA, they may be ineligible for asylum. This rule aims to discourage from shopping for asylum.

Preparing an asylum application

Gathering strong supporting documentation is crucial for a successful asylum claim. One should include a personal statement that details the reasons for seeking asylum and the persecution one fears. The applicant should also provide evidence of human rights abuses or persecution in their home country. And if possible, obtain statements from witnesses who can corroborate the claims.

The asylum interview and hearing

Once the applicant submits the asylum application, they will be scheduled for an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer. During the interview, on should:

  • Be honest and consistent in the responses
  • Provide any additional evidence or information requested by the officer
  • Bring an interpreter if language is a barrier

If the asylum application is denied, one may have the opportunity to present their case in immigration court.

Seeking asylum in the USA is a complex journey, but it can lead to safety and security for individuals facing persecution in their home countries. One should gather strong evidence and seek professional legal representation to enhance their chances of a successful asylum claim.

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