Asylum – What You Need to Know

Asylum is an immigration status that can be claimed by foreign nationals. If you fear unlawful persecution from your country based on your political opinion, religion, race, nationality, gender, or involvement in a social group, including your sexual orientation, you may be eligible for asylum in the United States. 

There are two types of asylum applications available to foreign nationals: the affirmative asylum application and the defensive asylum application. Deciding which application to use depends on whether or not formal removal proceedings have begun. While there are some similarities between the two types of asylum applications, there are distinct differences as well that every foreign national seeking asylum should know.

We are here to protect your innate human rights and safety.

Flora Legal Group has the experience and skills to navigate the legal process and defend your right to be in the U.S. We can help you with both affirmative asylum and defensive asylum cases.

What is the affirmative asylum process?

With affirmative asylum, you can apply for asylum directly with USCIS without being placed in removal proceedings. An Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal (I-589) will need to be filed with USCIS within a year of your arrival to the United States. You must also be present in the United States to file.  Once your application is submitted, you will meet with an asylum officer who will determine whether or not your case is approved. Our immigration lawyers can help you adequately prepare to speak to your asylum officer.

What is the defensive asylum process?

The defensive asylum process is available to people who have been placed in removal proceedings and are “defending” themselves against deportation.  The defensive asylum application process requires the same USCIS forms as the affirmative asylum application process; however, the application is submitted directly to an immigration court judge. After the judge has accepted your written asylum application, you will be given a time for an individual hearing.  At this hearing, you and your lawyer will defend your claim for asylum. The Flora Legal Group immigration lawyers are here with you every step of the way to help you prepare for your argument in court.

What can Flora Legal Group do for you?

Asylum law is among the most rapidly evolving area of immigration law. An experienced asylum lawyer from Flora Legal Group has the knowledge of the latest asylum-related court decisions and can help you collect evidence to support your case. Since the asylum process, both affirmative and defensive, requires specific proof of your fear of persecution in your home country, you’ll want a professional on your side. Call us today at (317) 487-4652 for guidance and representation through the asylum process that you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get asylum in the USA?

The asylum processing time varies. For some individuals, it can take years, although USCIS states your initial interview should occur within 45 days after the date on your application. A decision should be completed within 180 days after the date on your application. 

What is the difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker?

More often than not, asylum status applies to individuals who are already in the U.S and are not yet citizens. Refugee status is granted to those who are outside the U.S. borders and are seeking safety from the dangers of their home country. Refugees have to apply for entry through either a United States Embassy or the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Both provide protection to those wishing to immigrate legally to the United States.

When should I file for asylum?

If you are already in the U.S. and are a non-citizen, you have up to a year to send USCIS your asylum application.

Can I work while my application for asylum is being processed?

You may be eligible to work in the United States while your asylum application is being processed by filing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The asylum process is complex and difficult and so is the EAD process.  There are certain time parameters that you’ll need to pay attention to so your request for a work permit is not denied.

Can I apply for asylum if I have been convicted of a crime?

You may apply; however, your application may be denied depending on the nature of your crime. You must disclose all of your criminal history on your application and again at your asylum interview. Failure to disclose this information may result in your claim being referred to immigration court, fines, or imprisonment for committing perjury.

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