Individuals who have been persecuted (or fear they will be persecuted) on the basis of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group may be eligible for asylum or refugee status in the U.S. If you are seeking asylum for yourself or a loved one for the first time, this is the place to start. This section includes articles that describe the basic rules surrounding asylum and refugee status, and answers common questions about asylum/refugee eligibility and claims. The articles below also explain immigration law process and the types of outcomes you can expect from an asylum case.
An asylum claim begins with the filing of an application for asylum either at the port of entry or by sending the application form to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The application must be filed within a year of entering the United States unless there were changes in circumstances that created the claim or if other extraordinary circumstances prevented filing within the initial year.
All asylum applicants are interviewed by an asylum officer or immigration judge who will determine whether their claim will be granted. Interviews often involve close questioning about the applicant's claims and about the documented conditions within the applicant's home country.
After examining the evidence and interviewing the applicant the asylum officer or immigration judge issues an approval or denial of the claim. If approved, the asylee may subsequently apply for permanent resident status through another process. If denied, the applicant may appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).
Types of Asylum Decisions
Once an application has been submitted and an interview has taken place there are a number of possible outcomes to an asylum claim.
Learn more about the asylum process and possible outcomes. Access resources and find an attorney to provide assistance using the links below.