Applying for Asylum
If you are in the United States and you are afraid to return to your country of citizenship or the country where you have been living, you should meet with a lawyer to see if you are eligible to apply for asylum.
Applying for asylum is a very complicated process. You should not apply on your own. Family members and friends may have good intentions, but they generally will not understand the complex legal issues involved in an asylum application. Applicants who are represented by an immigration lawyer are more likely to be successful than applicants who are not.
Successful asylum applications need to show that the applicant's fear of return is based on certain protected grounds that are defined in U.S. law. The U.S. government must determine that the applicant can be classified as a refugee.
An asylum applicant must provide evidence to support the case and must be prepared to testify in front of a USCIS officer or an Immigration Judge.
Our firm has helped people from many different countries around the world to apply for asylum. We represent asylum-seekers in front of USCIS and also in the Seattle Immigration Court.
The one-year bar
The U.S. government requires asylum seekers to submit their asylum application within one year after their most recent entry to the United States.
If you have been in the United States for more than one year and would like to apply for asylum, you should speak to an immigration lawyer to see if you might qualify for one of the exceptions to the one-year bar. You should speak to a lawyer before you file your application.
Employment authorization (work permit)
Some asylum applicants will be eligible for a work permit after they submit the application. Not all asylum applicants will receive a work permit.
Approval of a work permit does not mean that the asylum application will be approved. Denial of a work permit does not automatically mean that the asylum application will be denied.
Benefits of being granted asylum
If you are granted asylum, you have the right to live and work in the United States. There is no expiration date for asylum status. However, people who have been granted asylum can lose it in certain circumstances. People who have been granted asylum should speak to a lawyer before traveling outside the United States.
People who have been granted asylum may be able to petition for certain immediate family members to come to the United States as derivative asylees. If you were granted asylum and have a spouse or minor children abroad or in the United States who are not U.S. citizens, you should speak to an immigration lawyer.
People who have been granted asylum may be eligible to apply for permanent resident status (a green card) one year after being granted asylum. You should speak with a lawyer before submitting your application for permanent residence. You may be required to attend another interview and it is important to be prepared.
If you are serious about getting legal immigration assistance, a consultation is the best place to start. Spend up to a full hour with an immigration lawyer to discuss the details of your case, get answers to your questions, work through immigration issues and supporting documents and plan an immigration strategy.