Asylum is granted to individuals from foreign countries seeking protection in the United States because they feel they cannot safely return to their home country. The U.S. currently offers asylum to those who will face persecution (or fear they will face persecution) due to their race, religion, nationality, social status, or political beliefs. Asylum is also given to people who may be harmed by their own government if they return to their country. A person may apply for asylee status regardless of current immigration status or how they arrived in the country.
To be approved for asylum by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), you must apply within one year of the date of your last arrival to the United States. Exceptions may be made if you can prove there are new circumstances that affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances that explain the delay in filing. You will also need to show that you still filed within a reasonable amount of time given those circumstances.
You may include your spouse and/or children on your application, either at the time you file or any time before a final decision is made. Do keep in mind, however, that in order to include your child on your application, the child must be under 21 and unmarried.
You cannot apply for permission to work in the U.S. at the same time that you’re applying for asylum. However, if you are granted asylum you can begin working immediately. You can also apply for work authorization if your case has been pending for at least 150 days. Some people choose to acquire Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for identification and convenience, but an EAD is not required for asylees to begin work.
One year after being granted asylum, you will be eligible to apply for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident of the United States.
Some people are unclear on the difference between seeking asylum and requesting refugee status. The important difference to know is that someone seeking asylum is already in the country when they submit their request.
Asylum Attorneys in San Antonio, TX
If you and/or a family member are looking to seek asylum in the U.S., it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer as soon as possible. There are certain requirements necessary for an individual to prove they are eligible and it can be difficult to navigate this process alone. If for any reason you are found ineligible for asylum, know that there are many other programs and immigration requests that can still protect you. We are happy to answer any questions you have or discuss your best options with you.
The immigration attorneys at Salmón and Haas can help you seek asylum in the U.S. Contact us today at 210-734-8472 for a free consultation.