How do I claim asylum in the United States?

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2023 | Immigration

If you are seeking protection from persecution or fear of persecution in your home country due to your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, you can apply for asylum. Asylum is a form of humanitarian relief that allows you to stay and work legally in the United States and eventually apply for permanent residence (Green Card).

How to apply

There are two ways to apply for asylum in the United States: affirmatively or defensively. Affirmative asylum is when you submit an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services while you are not in removal proceedings before an immigration judge. Conversely, a defensive request is a defense to deportation.

Form I-589

Regardless of how you apply for asylum, you need to file the free Form I-589 (Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal). You must file this within a year of arrival here. You can also include your spouse and children who are physically present in the United States as dependents on your application, as long as they are under 21 years old and unmarried.

The information you need

Form I-589 requires you to provide information about yourself, family, immigration history, reasons for seeking asylum and any evidence that supports your claim. You also need to write a detailed personal statement that explains how you suffered or fear suffering persecution in your home country and why you cannot return there. You should attach any documents that corroborate your statement, such as police reports, medical records, news articles, letters from witnesses, etc.

After filing

After you file your Form I-589, USCIS will schedule you for a biometrics appointment and an interview with an asylum officer. The interview is an opportunity for you to explain your claim and answer questions. You have the right to bring an attorney, accredited representative and interpreter to assist you at the interview.

The asylum officer will make a decision on your case based on the information and evidence that you provide. If your case is approved, you will receive a letter granting you asylum status and a Form I-94 showing that you are authorized to stay and work in the United States. \

If your case is not approved, you will receive either a Notice of Intent to Deny or a referral to immigration court. A NOID means that USCIS intends to deny your application unless you submit additional evidence or arguments within 16 days. A referral means that USCIS has found that you are not eligible for asylum but may be eligible for other forms of relief before an immigration judge.