Many people come to the United States from other countries every year because they are seeking protection from the persecution they’ve suffered or fear they will be persecuted. One may be persecuted for a number of reasons including religion, race, nationality, political opinion, or because they are members of a certain social group.
If you’ve already left your home country and have come to the United States seeking safety and protection from persecution, you may qualify for asylum which means that you possibly will be able to stay in the United States. It is also possible that your spouse and children who are in the United States will also be eligible for asylum. There are a couple of ways that you might be able to obtain asylum in the United States. One is through the affirmative process, and the other is through the defensive process. An experienced Immigration Lawyer at Rodriguez & Sanabria can advise you as to whether you might be eligible for asylum and can help you determine which process you might use to file for asylum.
If you are physically present in the United States, you can apply for asylum through the affirmative process, regardless of how you came to the United States and regardless of your current immigration status. In addition, you are required to file for asylum within one year of the date of your last arrival in the U.S. unless you can establish that (1) changed circumstances materially affected whether you are eligible for asylum, or extraordinary circumstances delayed your application; and (2) you filed your application within a reasonable amount of time given the circumstances.
To apply for affirmative asylum, you will be required to submit certain forms and provide certain documentation. You may live in the U.S. while your application is pending before the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. However, most asylum applicants are not authorized to work unless they meet certain circumstances. Depending on if your application is approved or denied, you may have to appear before an Immigration Judge at the Executive Office for Immigration Review to discuss your case.
If you are found ineligible for affirmative asylum, or you’ve been placed in removal proceedings, you might be able to file a defensive application for asylum. This application is used as a defense against removal from the country. Immigration Judges decide defensive asylum cases in courtroom-like proceedings, and they determine whether an individual is eligible for asylum.
If you’ve been granted asylum, you will likely be able to work immediately. Additionally, if your spouse or your children who are unmarried and under the age of 21 are not yet in the United States, you may then petition to bring them to the United States. However, in most cases, you must file this petition within two years after your asylum has been granted.
Moreover, after you’ve obtained asylum, you may apply to become a lawful permanent resident, or green card holder, one year after your asylum is granted. Your spouse and your children may also seek green cards if they were allowed to be in the U.S. as asylees or were admitted through your grant of asylum. In most instances, if you’ve been in the U.S. for a year after receiving asylum, it is a good idea to apply to become a permanent resident as at some point you may no longer qualify for asylum if the conditions change in your home country or you are no longer considered an asylee due to a change in circumstances.
If you believe that you might qualify for asylum status in the United States due to conditions in your home country, it is important that you consult with a dedicated and knowledgeable Immigration Lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Rodriguez & Sanabria 24/7 via phone at (571) 292-1209 in Virginia, (301) 585-8400 in Maryland or email for a free consultation, or to schedule an office visit.
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