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How to Apply for Asylum in the U.S.

Political Asylum is a protection mechanism some nations offer to people who have left their home countries as a political refugee. The United States offers two types of asylum, affirmative and defensive. In both cases, the applicant’s eligibility will have to be determined by immigration authorities.

To apply for Affirmative Asylum, you need to be physically present in the United States. Regardless of how you entered the country or your current immigration status, you can apply if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Defensive Asylum can be requested by those individuals who are at risk of being removed from the United States. An immigrant can be placed in removal proceedings after being caught trying to enter the country illegally or due to immigration violations.

If you want to apply for political asylum, we recommend consulting Alice Antonovsky, immigration specialist.

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Key Facts About Political Asylum
  • You need to pass the “credible fear test” to get asylum in the United States. In order to do this, you must show proof of the persecution or potential persecution in your home country. In addition to your file, an immigration authority will interview you before making a decision.
  • If your application is denied, the case will be referred to Immigration Court before a judge who will hear your testimony and make an independent decision. If your asylum is denied again, you can still appeal to the BIA, U.S. Court of Appeals and U.S. Supreme Court.
  • If you are granted asylum in the US, you will have to request a travel document (Form I-131) before going abroad to guarantee your ability to reenter. If the place you intend to visit is your home country, it may hurt your asylum status if it is determined that you lied about the persecution risk.
Go to our Immigration Resource Center
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