Fleeing persecution and torture in their homelands, many asylum applicants seek refuge in the United States each year. Application for asylum requires a thorough knowledge of immigration law, researching foreign country conditions, utilizing human rights experts, and the presentation of evidence and witnesses. To be eligible for asylum the applicant must prove that they will suffer persecution, or have a basis to fear future persecution, on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The applicant must be a person of good moral character who merits a favorable exercise of discretion. Other than certain exceptions, an asylum seeker has one year from the date they last entered the United States to submit the application.

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What is Persecution?
Persecution encompasses a broad range of acts such as physical torture, severe economic deprivation, unlawful detention, and restriction of an individual’s life or freedom.

Who is not eligible for Asylum?
Certain people who have committed serious crimes, assisted in the persecution of others, are a national security risk, or have engaged in or supported terrorist activity are barred from asylum.

When do I get my Green Card?
Once a person has been awarded asylum, he or she may apply for a green card after being present in the United States for one year from the date of receiving asylum.

Where can I file my application for Asylum?
An asylum applicant files an affirmative application by mail to the appropriate immigration service center depending on his or her physical place of residence. The service center then forwards the file to the appropriate asylum office for an interview. An applicant for asylum can also file the application with the immigration court. A decision on the application for asylum is made by the immigration judge and the applicant is permitted to provide evidence and testimony in support of his or her claim.

Do my family members receive any immigration benefits if I am awarded Asylum?
A person who has been granted asylum may file a petition for a spouse or child under the age of 21. The family relationship must exist at the time the application for asylum was approved. Also, the petition must be filed within two years of the asylum grant. Generally, once the petition is approved the family member(s) becomes a derivative asylee and will be eligible to apply for a green card after one year.