If you are seeking asylum in the United States, our South Carolina immigration team outlines the process steps and provides you with information on eligibility requirements. Colón Law Firm has more than 20 years of experience helping many with their immigration needs and we can give you the support you need during this difficult time.
How Does Asylum Work in the U.S.?
Asylum is special legal protection available to individuals who have left their home country for safety and are afraid to return to that country. Asylum-seekers must pass a “credible fear” test to be eligible for asylum. This means they must have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of :
- Membership in a particular social group
- Political opinion.
Difference Between Refugee and Asylee
The main difference between an asylee and a refugee is that a refugee is granted refugee status while still outside the United States; an asylum seeker is granted asylee status after entering the country or while seeking admission at a port of entry.
Who is Eligible for Asylum?
To be eligible for asylum in the U.S., one must meet the basic requirements. The applicant must:
- Be unable or unwilling to return to their home country because they fear persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group, as mentioned above.
- Demonstrate that you are not barred from the asylum by any mandatory grounds for denial.
- Submit a completed I-589 application for asylum and for withholding removal asylum within one year of arrival to the United States.
What Are the Steps to Apply For Asylum?
The following steps outline the asylum application process, as stated on the United States Immigration Services Citizenship (USCIS) website.
Be Present in the U.S.
To apply for asylum, you must be physically present in the U.S.
Get Legal Help
Though it is not mandatory, it is suggested to have legal support as the asylum application process can be complicated. An immigration lawyer will be able to help you understand the eligibility requirements, gather the necessary documents, and represent you during your interview.
Attend Biometrics Appointment
Your fingerprints will be taken during the biometrics appointment, and a background/security check will be performed. Asylum applicants do not need to pay a fingerprinting fee. If you are also requesting asylum status for your spouse and children, they will need to go with you to the appointment.
Receive Notice for Interview
If applying for asylum through the USCIS, you will receive the asylum interview notice in the mail. If the asylum application was submitted through immigration court, you would not receive this notice since that is a different process. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on this.
Attend the Asylum Interview
During your asylum interview, an asylum officer will ask you questions about your asylum case to determine eligibility. You will be able to bring your attorney with you and an interpreter if necessary. The interview usually lasts about an hour.
Asylum Officer Makes a Decision on Your Case
An asylum officer will review the details of your case and decide whether or not to grant you asylum. Once a decision is made, you will receive a written notice in the mail. If the asylum officer finds you have a credible fear of persecution, your case will be referred to an immigration judge. If the asylum officer denies your case, you will be placed in removal proceedings and have a chance to present your case to an immigration judge.
How Long Does The Process Take?
The asylum application usually takes several months or even years to complete. It is crucial to have an experienced immigration attorney by your side to help you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected.
We Are Here To Help
At Colón Law Firm, our team of experienced immigration attorneys has helped many people apply for asylum in the United States. The asylum process can be long and complex, but our team of experienced immigration lawyers can help you navigate the system and give you the best chance at a successful outcome. We are a multilingual office here to support you and answer any questions you may have about the process.
Contact us today through our website or give us a call at (864) 697-2870 to schedule a consultation.