If war, violence or fear of persecution based on your race, nationality, religion, political membership or involvement in a specific social group has caused you to flee your country, you may find yourself seeking asylum in Georgia or at another port of entry to the U.S. In order to help protect yourself and improve your chances of receiving legal immigration status, it is important for you to understand the asylum process in the U.S.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the affirmative asylum process requires you to physically be in the U.S. in order to apply for asylum status. With few exceptions, you must submit your application within one year of your latest arrival in the U.S., and you cannot have had a previous asylum application denied.

After your application is received, you will receive notice of your fingerprinting appointment at the nearest application support center. You should bring your spouse and children to your appointment if they are with you in the U.S. and are also seeking asylum. The USCIS also conducts background and security checks.

The next step in pursuing asylum in the U.S. is the interview. This meeting typically lasts about an hour, and you can bring witnesses to speak on your behalf and an attorney or accredited representative. You should also bring your spouse and children if they are also seeking asylum. During the interview, you may be asked questions about your identity and personal history, as well as why you applied for asylum, for example.

Your case will be reviewed to ensure the decision is legal and you meet the requirements for asylum. In most cases, a decision regarding your application is available within two weeks of your interview.

This post contains information that is meant only for general purposes and should not be considered legal advice.