If you are facing persecution or fearing persecution in your home country, you can seek safety in the United States. However, it is crucial to carefully follow the asylum process, from completing the application to providing evidence that can support your case.
The application process can be difficult and complex to manage, considering your situation. Nevertheless, taking the right steps is essential to ensure a new, safe start.
What to expect when applying for asylum in the U.S.
To request asylum, you must be in the United States or at the border. Completing and submitting Form I-589 to USCIS within one year of arrival is crucial unless exceptions apply. Failure to apply within this timeline may disqualify your application.
If the USCIS accepts your asylum application, they will schedule an interview where you will demonstrate a credible fear of persecution. Bringing evidence, such as news reports on the home country’s situation or documents proving past harm, such as medical or police reports, can make a case stronger.
Preparation is crucial as the process can take as long as six months. Any mistakes could delay your application or result in a denial.
You may also encounter other challenges while your application is pending. The U.S. government may hold you in detention until a decision is made on your case. There are reports of immigrants and asylum seekers being held for several months or even up to a year.
If the officer does not believe you have a credible fear or if you receive a rejection, you can still re-apply through the defensive asylum process.
Avoid detention and denial with help
Understanding immigration and asylum law can help improve your chances of a successful application. However, you may not have the time to grasp complex laws fully. This is where an immigration attorney can help.
An attorney can assist you during your application, gather evidence and build your case. If you need to attend any hearings, an attorney can represent you. If English is not your first language, the guidance of an attorney can be especially valuable. They can explain legal terms, the steps you need to take and your rights.
Should you encounter any legal trouble while seeking asylum, an attorney can fight for your rights and work to ensure you’re treated fairly. The road ahead may be challenging, but a safe and fresh start in the U.S. may be within reach when you have the proper support.