How to Seek Asylum in the United States

What is Asylum? How Can You Be Eligible? 

Each year thousands of immigrants attempt to escape the persecution that they suffered in their homelands and come to America to start a new life. Asylum aims to protect foreign nationals already in the United States or arriving at the border who can be classified as “refugees.”

Any person with a history of oppression on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, or political opinion can be an asylee. It is best to consult an immigration lawyer dedicated to helping people escape persecution in their home countries by securing them a safe haven in the U.S.

How can Asylum Help You?

Upon being granted the title of “asylee” in America, you are authorized to work in the country, apply for a Social Security card, request permission to travel overseas, and petition to bring family members to the U.S.. After one year – an asylee may apply for lawful permanent resident status (i.e., green card). 

However, one must consider that this is a lengthy process that requires significant time and effort. Let’s tackle it one at a time! 

Asylum Application Process in the United States

Individuals can seek asylum in the U.S. in either of two ways: 

1. Affirmative Asylum 

This process is when a person applies for asylum with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To apply, you must submit Form I-589 and supporting documents with USCIS. There will be an interview with an asylum officer having jurisdiction over your place of current residence. It is best to consult an immigration lawyer to prepare when responding to questions. The officer will then decide within 180 days of the interview unless there are exceptional circumstances at hand. 

2. Defensive Asylum 

This process is when a person applies for asylum by filing an application with an immigration judge at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). Asylum is applied for defense against removal proceedings. The request is made in several diverse situations – it is best to consult an immigration lawyer to thoroughly plan this action and prepare all necessary evidence or claims. If you are denied asylum, you will be deported. 

Time is vital. Individuals generally must apply for asylum within one year of their most recent arrival in the United States. In many cases, not following the one-year deadline may be why the court denies an asylum application. Furthermore, the asylum process can take years to conclude. 

Asylum during COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government suspended the application process for persons who have been in “Coronavirus Impacted Areas.” Additionally, all related hearings were suspended starting June 22, 2020, and the asylum cooperative agreements were put on hold. It is highly recommended to consult an immigration lawyer. 


A knowledgeable immigration lawyer who understands how to prepare properly, file, plan, and presents an asylum claim significantly increases your chances of being granted asylum status by the U.S. government.

Professional help is the best way to proceed in seeking asylum in the U.S.A. 

About the Author

Ali Dino
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