Generally, political asylum is the only way to establish lawful permanent residence in the U.S. other than through a family relative, employment, or investment. Foreign citizens may be eligible for asylum status if they are already present in the U.S. (even if illegally) or upon arrival and are unable or unwilling to return to their country due to a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.
Persons seeking asylum must file an application for asylum together with any supporting evidence within one year after arrival in the U.S., unless they prove of existence of changed circumstances which materially affect their eligibility or extraordinary circumstances. The applicant’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may also be included in the application if they are present in the U.S., or they may be included later, as long as it is before a final decision is made on the application.
The applicant may apply for a work authorization 365 days after filing the application as long as the applicant entered the United States lawfully, filed the asylum application within one year from the date of the last arrival into the United States, appeared for any scheduled biometric services appointments or asylum interview, has not caused an outstanding delay related to the asylum application, and no final decision has been made on your asylum application. There are some limited exceptions to these work authorization requirements.
The applications for asylum are reviewed by the Asylum Office having jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence in the U.S. Within 45 days of application filing, the asylum officer will conduct an initial interview with the applicant. Following the interview, the asylum officer may grant, deny or refer the application materials to an immigration judge for deportation proceedings, unless the applicant is still in legal status in the U.S. After a hearing, the immigration judge may approve or deny the application. If the application is denied, a deportation order will be issued. If the asylum is granted, the asylee may petition to bring his family to the U.S. within 2 years after the asylum status has been granted and may apply for a green card in one year.
Whether the asylum application is granted or denied depends on many factors. The first major step in increasing your chances of an approval is to prepare a thorough, detailed, and complete application supported by strong evidence and testimony. We can help you prepare a strong asylum application, fully present your case to the asylum officer and the judge and guide you through every step of the asylum process. Call us now for a consultation. (386) 248-3000.