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If you’ve been residing unlawfully in the United States and fear returning to your home country due to credible threats of persecution, you may be eligible to seek a form of immigration protection called “asylum.” The process for seeking asylum is not easy. It’s estimated that only 28% of applications for asylum are granted. The Las Vegas Immigration Court hears hundreds of asylum cases each year. For this reason, it’s essential to have a skilled lawyer that understands both the law and the particular facts of your situation.How to Seek Asylum in the United States?
If you’re seeking asylum in the United States, the government will require that you produce credible proof of threat in your home country. The threat has to be based upon factors such as your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or because of your political opinions and activities. If you can’t show a credible threat based upon any one of these factors and your application is denied, you’ll likely face deportation back to your home country. The process for seeking asylum is quite complicated, therefore, you must seek help from an experienced immigration attorney before beginning the process for asylum.
There are basically two ways to seek asylum. They’re characterized as “affirmative” and “defensive” asylum.Affirmative Asylum
The first thing to understand is that affirmative asylum is the process you take to apply for asylum when you’re not in any type of removal proceedings.
- Being physically present in the U.S. at the time the application is made
- Not having been physically present in the U.S. for more than a year (unless extreme circumstance has been proven)
- Filing Form I-589 Application
- Not been placed in removal proceedings
If accepted, you’ll be granted status to reside in the U.S. without the fear of being deported. The main points to understand are that in order to apply for asylum, you must be physically present in the United States and you must apply within one year of arrival.Defensive Asylum
You can apply for defensive asylum when you file a petition for asylum as a defense measure while in a U.S. removal proceedings pending in immigration court.
To qualify for defensive asylum, you may have been:
- Placed in removal proceedings by an asylum officer
- Placed in removal proceedings for immigration violations
- Attempted to enter the U.S. without immigration documents but were found to have a credible threat of danger if returned to your country of origin
You’ll have to appear before an immigration judge for a hearing. At that time, a decision about whether your petition for asylum should be granted will be made.What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Asylum?
To apply for asylum, you must submit an Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, Form I-589. This application may also include your current spouse and children who are with you at the time you file the application or when a favorable decision has been made.
In order to be eligible to apply for asylum, the following must be true:
- You’re physically residing in the U.S.
- You have proof of credible fear of persecution based upon your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion
- You have not been residing unlawfully in the U.S. for more than a year (however, certain accommodations may apply)
When your asylum application is granted, you’ll receive immigration protection.
The advantages for asylum seekers may include:
- Family unification (inclusion of spouse and children)
- Permission to lawfully reside in the United States
- Eligibility to apply for lawful permanent residency (green card) after a year of being granted asylum
- The ability to immediately apply for employment authorization
The asylum process in Las Vegas can take anywhere from a minimum of 6 months up to several years. Why? Because not only do you have to present a powerful case in support of your asylum application but the government will investigate your claims. Thus, all of this can be very time intensive making it a long process.