Who Qualifies for Asylum?
American immigration law allows persons from other countries to obtain temporary or permanent residence in the United States if they can prove that they are “refugees.” A refugee is a person who is fleeing his/her home country because of a well-founded fear of death or serious injury if he/she were to remain there. The reason for persecution has to fall into one of these five categories:
- Political opinion;
- Nationality; or
- Membership in a particular social group
When Should You Apply?
Generally, to qualify to asylum, you must apply within one year of entering the United States. “Changed” or “extraordinary” circumstances qualify as exceptions to the 1-year rule. You may apply for asylum when you arrive on American soil, even if your entry was illegal. You may also apply while living in your home country or another country.
We Will Help You Understand the Process
The asylum application process is complex and requires strong evidence for the case to be successful. We will explain the entire asylum process to you. When you are fleeing from your home country, you may not be able to gather all the evidence that you need to prove your case. We will assist in gathering the documents from your home country, file your asylum application prepare you for an interview or court testimony and stand with you every step of the way.
Will I be Able to Work?
As of August 25, 2020, you may apply for a Employment Authorization Document (EAD) commonly known as a “work permit” if your case has been pending for 365 days or more with no initial decision on the application.
It is important for you to be able to work while the application is under review, as it could be months or years before the asylum office or immigration court make a final decision. You will be able to provide for yourself and your family during this lengthy process.
If you win your case, you do not need a “work permit” because your social security card, which you will present to your employer, will not have any employment restrictions.
Family Members and the Asylum Application
Your immediate family members, which is your unmarried children under 21 years old and your spouse, can be included on the asylum application and be given asylum status at the same time as yourself, if they are in the United States. If they are in another country, you must petition for them within 2 years of winning your case.
You will however have to wait until you receive your green card or United States citizenship to petition for other family members such as your parents, siblings, and your adult married or unmarried children.
Florida Asylum Lawyer Serving All Florida Counties and the Entire United States
Asylum applicants can benefit from expertise and compassionate representation from the Fletcher Law Office. We pride ourselves on our ability to listen well to our clients’ stories and present their best cases. With this approach, we have had hundreds of successful applications for our asylum clients. Feel free to reach out to us for personal attention on your case, by calling 561-507-5772 or by using our contact form.
Anyone who has:
- Persecuted others;
- Engaged in terrorist acts;
- Been convicted of certain serious crime in the United States;
- Committed certain serious non-political crimes outside the United States;
- Been denied asylum in the past;
- Resettled in a third country;
- Been offered asylum in a third country; or
- Been or will be a danger to U.S. national security
Other options such as Withholding of Removal (WOR) or relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) may be available for those who are ineligible to apply for asylum.
It depends on the criminal conviction. If you have been convicted of an “aggravated felony” you do not qualify for asylum. Less serious offenses committed in the U.S. or your home country may not disqualify you.
Generally, yes, if you can prove that you had good cause to do so. However, you should be truthful on your asylum application and in any statements that you make to the asylum officer or the court regarding your use of phony documents.
It may take a few months or many years. It depends on the judge’s caseload, if your case is in court or backlogs at the asylum office, if you filed an affirmative asylum application. Six months to 2 years is the average wait time.
Yes. Applicants who filed their asylum applications on or before August 25, 2020 are eligible for a work permit once the application has been pending for 180 days and no decision has been made. You must not be the reason for the delay. You are eligible to apply at the 150-day mark.
Yes. However, it is not a good idea to travel to the country from which you were fleeing persecution because the U.S. government could take away your asylum status. If you want to travel less than 1 year after you won your asylum case, you will need to apply for a “travel document” to allow you to reenter the United States. If you already received your green card, you do not need a travel document.
The worst case scenario is that you could be deported to your home county. However, this is not automatic. Asylum applicants who lose their case with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, can argue their case to an immigration judge. If you lose in court you can appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals and in limited circumstances, the United States Supreme Court. The appellate process is complex and lengthy; it could take many years.