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What is Political Asylum and How Do You Apply for It?

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What is Political Asylum?

Asylum is granted to immigrants already in the United States who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country due to persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. The basis for political asylum are if a person will be persecuted due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and political opinion. Your fear of persecution must fall under one of these categories. If you are granted asylum, you will be allowed to live and work in the United States and apply for permanent resident status one year after your application is approved.

Asylum can be “affirmative” or “defensive.” With affirmative asylum, you apply on your own initiative. With defensive asylum, you apply once you are in custody of the United States. Defensive asylum is a method to prevent your removal from the United States.

Asylum status and refugee status are closely related. They differ only in the place where a person can ask for the status; asylum must be applied for within the United States, and refugees must apply outside of the United States. Read ahead for more information on how to file for asylum.

How to Apply for Political Asylum

Step 1: Find a lawyer and understand asylum

To make the strongest case, you will want to meet with an immigration attorney who can advise you. You have the right to bring a lawyer to your asylum interview and any subsequent immigration proceedings. Asylum is a benefit that allows certain immigrants to remain lawfully in the United States for an indefinite amount of time.

Step 2: Check if you are eligible

To be eligible for asylum, you generally must already be physically present or arriving in the United States. You must have suffered from or had the fear of suffering from persecution based on either race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Step 3: Understand who you can include in your application

For affirmative asylum, you may include your spouse and an unmarried child under the age of 21 in your application. If the child is 21 or older, they would have to apply for and be granted asylum. If you are a minor, then you may apply for asylum yourself.

Step 4: Apply within the deadline

You must submit an application for asylum within one year of arriving in the United States, unless there has been a material change of circumstances. For example, if your home country suddenly has a war in which your ethnic group is being targeted, then you could claim that circumstances have changed which now warrants your application for asylum.

Step 5: Confirm that you’re not barred from applying

Bars include conviction of a serious crime (which includes aggravated felonies), committing a serious nonpolitical crime outside of the United States, posing a danger to the security of the United States, and being already firmly resettled in another country before arriving in the United States.

Step 6: Corroborate the persecution

When you submit your asylum application, you must present evidence that shows the general conditions in the country you are fleeing as well as any specific facts that you are relying on in your claim.

Step 7: Gather photographs and immigration documents

Along with your application, you must submit a passport-sized photo of yourself and each family member included in your application. You should also make three copies of all passports or other travel documents like arrival-departure records or other immigration documents. Any documents that corroborates your fear of returning must be included.

Step 8: Collect supplementary family information

If you are including family members in your application, then you must submit one additional copy of the application for each family member. You also need documentary evidence that establishes the family relationship.

Can an Asylum Seeker Apply for a Work Permit?

If you are granted asylum, you are instantly eligible to stay n the U.S as an Asylee. However, this may not happen for weeks, months, or even years. In the meantime, if you are an asylum applicant, you may be able to obtain work authorization if 150 days have passed since you filed your application and there has been no decision on your case from USCIS or the immigration judge.

What to Look for in an Asylum Lawyer

Applying for asylum can be a complicated and daunting process. Having an asylum lawyer by your side can ease your stress, but also give you an increased chance of getting your application approved. A good asylum lawyer is an expert in this field, and therefore they will ensure that your application is as strong as it can possibly be. When searching for an asylum lawyer, be sure to check their credentials and ask for references, as you will be placing your trust and future in their hands. Also start building a relationship with your attorney starting from your first meeting, because the better they understand you and your circumstances, the better they will be able to help you with your specific case.

Contact Eric Price Today!

Do you think you may qualify for political asylum? Contact Eric Price today for a free consultation and let’s find out!

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