Asylum is a form of protection available to individuals in the United States who have been or fear being persecuted on the basis of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Only non-U.S. citizens who are currently in the USA may apply. If you are outside the U.S., you must proceed as a refugee, which entails completely different processes and is not the subject of this writing.
It is important to note that the I-589 form, which is used to apply for asylum, must be filed within one year of entry into the U.S., unless you can prove that extraordinary circumstances prevented you from filing within that time. Individuals who are granted asylum are eligible to apply for work and travel authorization. A grant of asylum also allows the person to apply for a green card after one year. Spouses and/or children included in the application may also be eligible.
It’s important to speak with a competent lawyer to determine if you are eligible for asylum and to ensure that your application is complete and timely. Our office can provide you with more information about the asylum process and whether you qualify.