Given the difficult political situation in many countries, many people arrive to the USA to seek political asylum. Many people are thrown to jail in such countries as Russia, China, Bhutan, and other countries just because they do not support the political regime in their country. And many people are also persecuted when they attempt to change the political situation.
What You Need to Know about Political Asylum in the United States?
If you are one such person, then you can arrive to the United States and ask for asylum.
Obtaining asylum in the U.S. on political or any other grounds is a complicated process. You need to know a lot about the asylum process, and we are here to inform you. On this page, you will find all the basic information about getting asylum in the U.S.
The U.S. agencies concerned with the immigrants who seek political asylum
There are two main facilities in the U.S. that take decisions over asylum cases.
USCIS – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. main agency that is concerned with immigration in the U.S. in general, and asylum seekers in particular.
Immigration Court – the court were proceedings are taken with regard to asylum seekers’ cases. If you are to be deported or removed from the U.S., then you will have to prove that you cannot be removed in the Immigration Court. You will be called to the Immigration Court during the defensive asylum process. In the court, you will be allowed to hand your application for asylum to the Immigration Judge.
The Political Asylum Terms You Should Know
If you consider arriving to the United States to obtain political asylum (or asylum based on other ground), then you should know several important terms. We will simplify their definitions.
Here are the main asylum related terms that you should become familiar with:
- A refugee or an asylum seeker – the individual who was or would be persecuted in their home country, and is unwilling or unable to return to their home country.
- An asylee – the individual who arrived to the United States and were granted asylum.
- An asylum officer – the official representative of USCIS who is in charge of the affirmative asylum process. The asylum officer is a trained professional who conducts the asylum interview;
- verifies the evidence provided by the asylum seeker; and takes decisions over asylum cases.
- An Immigration Judge – the judge who presides in the Immigration Court during legal proceedings regarding asylum seekers’ cases.
Eligibility Requirements to Apply for Political Asylum in the U.S.
You can apply for political asylum in the United States only if you fear you will be persecuted for your political opinion in your home country.
The basic eligibility requirements for receiving asylum status are the following:
- Verify if you would be persecuted for your nationality, political opinion, race, religion, or membership in a particular social group.
- Arrive to the U.S. and file your asylum application with USCIS.
- Mail your asylum application to USCIS during the first year you entered the U.S. territory as an asylum seeker.
If you meet all the requirements listed above, you only need to attend an asylum interview and prove that you qualify for asylum.
Application for Asylum
Once you arrive to the U.S., you can apply for asylum. Basically, applying for asylum includes the following:
- Preparing necessary documentation to prove your eligibility for asylum.
- Filing Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.
The application for asylum is a 10-page form with two supplement pages. On the application form, you will have to provide a lot of information including:
- Your personal data;
- Information about your spouse and children, if applicable;
- Your residences for the last five years (where you lived);
- Your explanation why you need asylum.
The general recommendation is to be very careful and never omit or conceal the information that may influence the asylum decision in your case.
Should I Hire an Immigration Lawyer?
Given the latest restrictions concerning immigration introduced by Trump administration, it becomes increasingly difficult to receive asylum in the U.S. To increase your chances of obtaining political asylum, you may request help from an immigration lawyer.
A professional asylum lawyer will help you prepare your story to convince USCIS or the Immigration Judge that you are qualify for asylum. You may contact us, and we will help you during your asylum process.