Filing for Asylum in the United States

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Filing for Asylum in the United States

Seeking asylum is a right in the United States protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

If you are an arriving immigrant in the United States, there are two types of asylum that you have a right to seek under U.S. immigration law: (a) affirmative asylum; and (b) defensive asylum.

The main difference between the two is that affirmative asylum is handled entirely by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), while defensive asylum is handled by the immigration courts.

Filing for Asylum in the United States

Affirmative Asylum

If you are an arriving immigrant who entered the United States with lawful status, you may qualify for affirmative asylum.

A legal entry includes entering with either (a) a temporary visa; or (b) being granted parole by a Customs and Border Patrol agent at the port of entry.

In either of those scenarios, you were not issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) to attend an immigration hearing at any point in the future. USCIS will accept your asylum petition and make the final decision.

Defensive Asylum

If you are an arriving immigrant who did not enter the United States with lawful status, you were likely issued an NTA by Customs and Border Patrol at the port of entry.

Under current U.S. immigration law, your NTA should list a date, time, and place of your immigration hearing. Your NTA should also list your “A number” (the number the U.S. government uses to keep track of your immigration status).

At your first immigration hearing you are required to state the form of relief you are seeking to avoid removal from the United States. The immigration court will accept your asylum petition and make the final decision.

Grounds for Asylum

In order to ensure that your asylum petition is successful, it is crucial that you provide sufficient evidence to establish grounds for filing.

Grounds for asylum include, but are not limited to, (a) fear of persecution based on political beliefs; (b) membership in a particular social group; (c) religious persecution; and (d) fear of torture.

If you are unable to provide evidence of your claim, USCIS and/or the immigration court may deny your application which puts you at serious risk of removal from the United States.

One-year Deadline

Under current U.S. immigration law, you are required to file your asylum petition within one year of arriving to the United States.

If you do not file within one year, you must show (a) extraordinary circumstances took place in your life that was directly related to your subsequent failure to file within the one-year deadline; and (b) your own intentional action or inaction did not cause the extraordinary circumstance.

You may also demonstrate changed conditions in your country of origin where your asylum claim is based on.

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Schedule a Free Consultation with an Immigration Attorney

You should seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney before taking any steps to file an asylum application.

If you have any questions regarding your particular circumstance, please contact an immigration attorney at Sadek Law Offices at 215-545-0008. We look forward to helping you.