An asylum is a form of protection granted to individuals unable or unwilling to return to their home country due to fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group . The United States, as a signatory to the 1967 Protocol, has legal obligations to protect those who qualify as refugees and has established two paths to obtain refugee status – either from abroad as a resettled refugee or in the United States as an asylum seeker .
The Affirmative Asylum Process
The affirmative asylum process is for individuals physically present in the United States and seeking asylum as protection. Effective November 15, 2022, affirmative asylum applicants may file an online Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, via myuscis.gov .
The Defense Asylum Process
The defensive asylum process is for individuals who are facing removal proceedings in immigration court and are seeking asylum as a form of protection.
Applying for Asylum
If you are seeking asylum in the United States, it is important to follow the steps outlined by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This includes:
- Filing a complete Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal
- Attending an interview with an asylum officer
- Waiting for a decision on your application
You can track the status of your asylum application by visiting www.uscis.gov/casestatus and entering your receipt number . If you believe your asylum application must be expedited, it is important to ensure USCIS is aware of this by following the additional steps outlined in Form I-589 .
The Asylum Interview
The asylum interview is a critical part of the asylum process. It is an opportunity for the asylum officer to gather more information about your asylum claim and determine if you are eligible for asylum. Beginning Thursday, April 7, 2022, the Arlington Asylum Office will allow walk-in inquiries from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM on a first-come, first-served basis .
The Decision on Your Asylum Application
Once you have completed the asylum process, the asylum officer will decide on your application. You will be authorized to live and work in the United States if granted asylum. Asylees must apply for Lawful Permanent Resident (green card) status one year after being granted asylum . After five years of being a lawful permanent resident and meeting certain eligibility requirements, you may apply for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen.
The Consequences of a Positive Asylum Decision
Being granted asylum in the United States is a significant milestone for individuals seeking protection from persecution. Once granted asylum, you will be authorized to live and work in the United States and can apply for a Social Security number and work authorization.
After one year of being granted asylum, you will be required to apply for Lawful Permanent Resident (green card) status. This is an important step in becoming a permanent resident of the United States. As a lawful permanent resident, you can live and work in the United States without fear of removal. You will also be able to travel outside of the country for limited periods.
After five years of being a lawful permanent resident and meeting certain eligibility requirements, you may apply for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen. Becoming a U.S. citizen provides many benefits, including the right to vote, the ability to sponsor family members for immigration to the United States, and the right to live and work in the United States permanently.
It is important to note that becoming a U.S. citizen can be complex and requires careful attention to detail. If you are seeking to become a U.S. citizen, it is recommended that you seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney to help guide you through the process.
In conclusion, being granted asylum in the United States is important in seeking protection from persecution. It allows individuals to start a new life in the United States, free from fear, and build a better future for themselves and their families.