FacebookTwitterGoogle PlusYoutube

HOW TO: Apply for Asylum

Every year, thousands of people come into the United States seeking protection from dangers abroad, whether those dangers come in the form of economic, political, or even social instability or persecution. In 2015 alone, 84,182 affirmative asylum applications were filed.

So HOW can one apply for asylum?

The prerequisite for applying to asylum is simple. Essentially, an asylum seeker must prove that he or she has a legitimate fear of persecution based on one or more o the following:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Political opinion

Before applying for asylum, it is important to consult with an attorney due to the seriousness of such a decision. As you are filing, be sure to keep a copy of each paper your submit for your records. Additionally, be sure to send your application through a certified mail carrier like FedEx or UPS to ensure you can track the package and prove that you’ve filed for asylum on time.

The asylum application consists of:

  • Immigration Form I-589
  • A declaration (detailed personal statement by the applicant)
  • Corroborating documents (medical reports, police reports, letters from witnesses, etc.) to back up the applicant’s story
  • Country conditions documentation (human rights reports, newspaper articles, reports from expert witnesses) demonstrating the persecution referenced in your application

After you have filed your application, DHS will issue a receipt notice to let you know that the document was properly filed. If you do not receive a receipt notice, your application may not have been properly filed. While only 47% of interviewed cases get approved, 180 days after filing a claim, applicants are granted work authorization (among other benefits) while they await a response on their case. Due to heavy backlogs at the asylum offices, after receiving the initial receipt notice, it is unclear how long it will be until you are selected for an interview. Some applicants receive an interview within a few months while other must wait years. Individuals may, however, be randomly be chosen for much quicker processing times. Note that an applicant’s’ wait time does not imply anything about the strength or weakness of one’s application.

Once an interview has taken place, a decision will be made to either grant asylum, recommend asylum approval, provide a notice of intent to deny a case, or refer the case to immigration court.

NOTE: Do not apply for asylum without a lawyer. To schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney and/or accredited representative at AAFS, call: 708-599-2237

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Sponsors