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To obtain asylum through the affirmative asylum process you must be physically present in the United States. You may apply for asylum status regardless of how you arrived in the United States or your current immigration status.

You must apply for asylum within one year of the date of their last arrival in the United States, unless you can show:
Changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing.
You filed within a reasonable amount of time given those circumstances. If your case is not approved your case will be referred to an Immigration Judge at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). The Immigration Judge conducts a 'de novo' hearing of the case. This means that the judge conducts a new hearing and issues a decision that is independent of the decision made by USCIS.

A defensive application for asylum occurs when you request asylum as a defense against removal from the U.S. For asylum processing to be defensive, you must be in removal proceedings in immigration court with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).
Individuals are generally placed into defensive asylum processing in one of two ways:
They are referred to an Immigration Judge by USCIS after they have been determined to be ineligible for asylum at the end of the affirmative asylum process, OR

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They are placed in removal proceedings because they: · Were apprehended (or caught) in the United States or at a U.S. port of entry without proper legal documents or in violation of their immigration status, OR · Were caught by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) trying to enter the United States without proper documentation, were placed in the expedited removal process, and were found to have a credible fear of persecution or torture by an Asylum Officer. For more information on the Credible Fear Process, see the "Questions & Answers: Credible Fear Screenings" link to the right.

Should I apply for asylum?
Asylum is a very important and valuable immigration benefit. The most important step for you if you are interested in asylum is to seek the advice of a knowledgeable and experienced Immigration Attorney, who specializes in Asylum Law. Asylum is not for everyone. In fact, few people qualify for Asylum in the United States. In order to be eligible, you must establish that you have suffered past persecution, or that you have a well-founded fear of future persecution.

Persecution not only requires a serious type of harm, but it also requires that the harm involves a "protected ground." The five protected grounds are Political Opinion, Religion, Membership in a Particular Social Group, Ethnicity or Nationality, and Race. Understanding what qualifies in each category is technical and complicated. It requires an understanding of the US Immigration and Nationality Act, the Code of Federal Regulations, and applicable case law.

If applicants are approved for asylum, they are allowed to remain permanently in the U.S., and to apply for permanent residency one year after approval. Applicants who are not approved for asylum may be subject to being deported (removed) to their country of nationality. Other serious consequences can also result from filing an asylum application. Many applicants who are not eligible for asylum submit an application, and suffer unfortunate results. Because the result is so crucial, it is critical to be represented by an experienced Immigration Attorney specializing in Asylum cases. Each Asylum applicant needs a customized approach for his or her individual circumstances in order to be successful. This approach is best developed by an attorney who has substantial experience in this area, and a vast toolbox of resources.

If you are interested in seeking asylum, timing is very important. Don't take unnecessary chances. Contact an Immigration Attorney specializing in Asylum cases today.

The information provided is for general information and is not to be construed as legal advice.