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Asylum Basics: Things you need to know

We are experiencing an increase in clients seeking asylum. We found that there are some general misconceptions about how it works. Winning an asylum case is not an easy thing to do but with the proper presentation it can be done.

Asylum is available for persons who experience persecution or fear persecution as a result of their:

1. Race

2. Religion

3. Nationality

4. Membership to a particular social group or political group

If you are able to identify yourself with one of these categories, the next step is to document the circumstances for a report. Attorneys will find information on the conditions of the applicable country by looking up articles from credible sources such as the Central Intelligence Agency, CNN, and the New York Times. 

The appropriate time to file for asylum is once you are in the United States or at a port of entry. You cannot file for asylum while you are still in your country. There is a one year limit from from the date entry to file the petition. If one year has already passed since your date of entry, all is not lost. It is possible to apply for a waiver by proving a material change of conditions occurred in your country of origin. Other appropriate reasons to file beyond one year of entry include maintaining another visa status (such as student visa), health reasons, or change in personal circumstances. 

Typically, the immigration court will want to know that there is not another country besides the United States that you can seek refuge. If you have worked or lived in a country other than your place of origin, it will be necessary to carefully explain why that country is not an option to seek refuge. 

Asylum does not expire and can be a pathway to naturalization. While asylum does not expire, it can be revoked. Revocation of asylum status can occur when USCIS determines that there is no longer a threat in your country of origin, USCIS determines that there was fraud in the original application, or if you commit a felony crime.