Key things immigrants should know about applying for asylum in the US

American asylum laws permit immigrants to pursue asylum based on any of the following forms of persecution from their country of origin:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a group or subgroup
  • Political opinion

Customs and Immigration Services (CIS) will permit permit you to enter into the United States if you qualify for asylum. Due to some disingenuous claimants seeking asylum, there is a rigorous screening process to apply for asylum, beginning with Form I-589.

To prevent the prospect of an unnecessary deportation, you should submit form I-589 as soon as possible after arrival, but must be submitted to the CIS within one year of a persons arrival at the United States border. There is no filing fee for this application. A qualified attorney can help you file this paperwork without delay or errors. Errors on your application will severely delay your asylum status.

Adding and seeking asylum for family

Your children and a spouse may be eligible for asylum with you. You may add your children and spouse who are already in the US on your application when you file, or you can add them any time until a final decision is made on your case. To include your child, he or she must be under 21 and not married.

For children and spouses left in your country of origin, you may apply for asylum once asylum is granted to you. The form to use is Form I-730. This form, or petition, must be filed within two years of your grant of asylum unless new issues of humanitarian concerns arise that excuse the deadline, and there is no filing fee to apply. Again, to apply on behalf of a child, he/she must be unmarried and under 21 years old.

Employment options for asylees

US law forbids you from applying for employment authorization until your asylum application is in process. You may apply for employment authorization if:

  • 150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application (however this deadline may be extended if you request an extension of a hearing date, etc.), and provided that
  • No decision has been made on your application.

Once youre granted asylum you may work here legally immediately thereafter. You are not required to possess Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to work as an asylee, but having them can be helpful in working through a job interview process. These are obtained via Form I-765. There is no filing fee with this form.

You may not apply for a green card for permanent work status until one year has passed after asylum has been granted. Form I-485, for permanent residency and change of immigration status, is what be filed to obtain a green card. You must file a separate I-485 for each family member who obtains asylum based upon your own application.

Practical considerations when seeking asylum

This article provides a simple outline of what needs to occur to be granted asylum in the United States today. Circumstances have bogged down the process considerably. It has become vital to have an attorney involved to help the process move forward on your behalf.

Without competent legal counsel, the prospects for obtaining asylum today are remote. Yes, there is a cost to using an attorney at each stage of the process, but the benefits of navigating the process successfully are the potential for a life of freedom and economic prosperity.

No matter whether you are in Indiana, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida or California, the immigration laws and process is the same and we can help.

If you need guidance through the maze and challenges the immigration and asylum process causes, please call us today at (317) 604-1276 and we will help you get the process started.

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