How Do Immigrants Seek Asylum?
Each year, the U.S. approves thousands of applications for asylum, giving people from all over the world a chance to start a new life free from fear of persecution and torture. (Read more about asylum on our blog here.)
Individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. due to persecution or credible fear of persecution in their home country have three ways three ways to obtain asylum protection in the U.S.:
- Affirmative Process
- Asylum Merits Interview
- Defensive Process
For all three processes, the asylum seeker must be physically present in the U.S. at the time of applying and must not already be a U.S. citizen. Each pathway has its own additional eligibility requirements.
Let’s look at each one in turn.
Eligibility: The asylum seeker must never have been issued an A-Number (or, if there is an A-Number, must not currently be in EOIR proceedings) or is an “unaccompanied alien child.”
Process: Fill out Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year of arriving in the U.S. (or explain why doing so within one year was not possible).
Asylum Merits Interview
Eligibility: This process is for individuals who were placed in expedited removal proceedings (i.e., they will be deported soon) after May 31, 2022 and who declare their intention to apply for asylum for fear of returning to their country.
Process: First, a USCIS officer will conduct a credible fear screening. If the officer believes a credible fear exists, either a second interview – called the Asylum Merits Interview – will be held, or the asylum seeker will go before an immigration judge.
Eligibility: The defensive asylum process is for individuals who are currently in removal proceedings with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and are seeking asylum as a defense against removal from the U.S.
Process: An individual who is in removal proceedings may fill out Form I-589 if they have not done so already and appear before an immigration judge.
Have Questions about Applying for Asylum in the U.S.? Call the Immigration Attorneys at The Carolina Law Group
The above is a very brief overview of a very complex topic. You likely have many questions, like are you eligible for asylum in the U.S.? Which of the three pathways is available to you? What can you do to build a strong case to show you cannot return to your home country?
If you have any of these questions, speak with the immigration attorneys at The Carolina Law Group. They can help. They have experience handling asylum cases and can help you understand your options, handle paperwork, build a strong case, and avoid mistakes. You have nothing to lose – we offer a free, no-obligation consultation, so call us today at one of the numbers below to schedule your free consultation now.
The Carolina Law Group has four offices in South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.312.4444) & West Columbia (principal office; call 803.881.1110).
Call us at one of our four offices or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys. Our business hours are Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:30pm & Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm. Weekend and evening hours by appointment only. Our Greenville, SC law firm offers Spanish, Hindi, and Gujarati language translation services for your convenience.