If you are an immigrant in Georgia, you may wonder if you qualify for asylum here in the U.S. According to USA Today, you may be eligible for asylum if you cannot return to your home country for fear of persecution.

If you could experience life-threatening circumstances upon your return due to “race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinions,” then you may be eligible for protection.

How long will this take?

The process of claiming asylum can take years due to the back-logged system of the Department of Homeland Security. Family and background information – along with a criminal history report and the reasons for seeking asylum – needs to be documented on Form I-589 within a year of your arrival. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services then reviews this form upon receipt. Once reviewed, an asylum officer orders the necessary fingerprint and background check as a next step.

Once that is completed, you will need to schedule an interview with an asylum officer to go over your I-589. If you need to, you can request a lawyer and an interpreter to assist you. Asylum eligibility is determined by the officer that reviews your form with you.

If you are eligible for asylum, the officer forwards your application on to schedule an immigration court hearing. An immigration judge has the final verdict and will either grant or deny your application for asylum. After receiving asylum for five years, you are eligible to apply for citizenship in the U.S.

This information is provided for educational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as legal advice.