Fisher Legal Group

Who Qualifies For Asylum In The United States?

If an individual is in the United States right now, and they are afraid that if they return to their home country that they will suffer persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group, then they are eligible to file for asylum in the United States.  If somebody is abroad, it is called applying for refugee status. It is very important to note that a person’s request for asylum or refugee status must be based on one of the five factors listed above. Furthermore, the individual would have to file for asylum in the United States within the first year of arriving here. So, the immigration agency gives them one year from the date that they arrived to file for asylum. However, there are exceptions to that one-year timeframe. A lot of people file for asylum five or ten years later, but it does make their case more difficult and they need to have a serious reason why they did no file within one year and what exception to the one year requirement they have. They would have to speak to an attorney in order to find out if they qualify for an exception. But generally speaking, you have to file for asylum within the first year of arriving in the United States.

What Is The Process To Apply For Asylum?

If somebody is in the United States and they are afraid to go back to their home country, they would have to send an application form to the immigration agency (USCIS). The immigration form is very detailed, and if that individual misses one question, the case can be rejected. There is no application fee to apply for asylum in the United States. The person would have to attach proof of that fear of returning back to their home country. For example, if they claim that they suffered persecution in their home country, then they would have to attach proof that their life was in danger, that they received threats or that they were beaten or tortured. The more proof is attached, the stronger it makes the case.

It is a little bit more complicated for someone to prove that they would suffer persecution in the future if they returned home. If somebody didn’t suffer actual persecution in their home country before arriving in the US, how do they prove that they will suffer persecution? One way would be to attach official reports from different legitimate sources, proving that a person in their situation would suffer persecution in their home country, and that people like him or her have their lives in danger in that particular country. One of the main sources that the immigration agency and the immigration court uses is the state department annual human rights report.

The state department issues an annual human rights report for countries all over the world. Those human rights reports are very comprehensive, and they outline in detail the situation in each country. Those reports are considered to be the basis for these cases. However, you can use any other legitimate source which has a worldwide circulation. It would not be a newspaper from a village in some country that nobody knows about, it would have to be a legitimate source from an organization (such as Human Rights First or Amnesty International or newspapers such as New York Times) that publish reports or articles about situations in countries all over the world.

What Are The Common Mistakes People Make When Applying For An Asylum In The United States?

When an individual files for asylum, the first step is for them to be interviewed by the immigration agency (USCIS). If the immigration agency is not ready to approve their case, and if the individual is not in a legal status at that moment, then they are sent to argue their case to an immigration judge. One of the most common reasons that the immigration agency does not approve cases at their level (called the asylum office level), is lack of credibility and inconsistencies during the testimony. The asylum officer meets with that individual and they talk to that person about why they are afraid to go back, and what happened to them. For example, if someone was attacked, they would discuss when and how they were attacked, and who attacked them.

If there are inconsistencies between a person’s written affidavit and their testimony during their interview, the asylum office will not approve the case. The credibility issue is similar. If the immigration officer doesn’t believe that the person is being credible while testifying during the interview, they will not approve the case. This is what happens at the asylum office level. If it’s the immigration judge, we see lack of credibility as one of the main reasons why they do not approve asylum cases. So, the individual would have to be consistent during their testimony, be ready to explain what happened to them in detail, and be ready to answer the questions either from the asylum officer at the USCIS, or from the immigration judge if their asylum case is in immigration court.

One other reason that cases are not approved either at the asylum office level or the judge level is because the person has not met the one year requirement, and is not eligible for any exception to that requirement.

For more information on Qualifying For Asylum In The United States, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (646) 453-4170 today.

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