In 2021, the UNHCR recorded that 89.3 million people were displaced worldwide. Asylum in the United States is a beacon of hope for many; however, it is often a complex and challenging process.
If you are considering seeking asylum, you likely have many questions about the process and requirements. Here are some frequently asked questions that can provide a better understanding of seeking asylum in the United States.
What is asylum?
Asylum grants legal protection to individuals who can demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country based on factors such as race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. It enables them to seek refuge and protection in another country, such as the United States.
Who can apply for asylum?
Any individual physically present in the United States, regardless of their immigration status, may apply for asylum. However, meeting certain eligibility requirements is necessary.
To be eligible, individuals must demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution or harm if they were to return to their home country. It is important to consult with an immigration professional to determine eligibility and understand the specific requirements.
What is the application process?
The application process for asylum in the United States involves several steps. First, individuals need to submit Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Include all relevant and accurate information and provide supporting evidence to strengthen the case.
After filing the application, individuals will receive a scheduled biometrics appointment where their fingerprints, photograph and signature will undergo identity verification and background checks. Subsequently, an asylum interview with an asylum officer will take place. During the interview, individuals can present their cases and provide additional evidence to support their claims.
What happens after the asylum interview?
Following the asylum interview, the asylum officer will review the case and make a decision. If the application is approved, individuals will be granted asylum status, allowing them to remain in the United States and seek a path to permanent residency.
If the asylum officer does not grant asylum, the case may be referred to an immigration judge for further review in immigration court. This provides an opportunity to present the case before a judge and provide additional evidence.
Understanding the basics of the asylum process can help individuals navigate the challenges involved.