Asylum is granted for individuals who have either been persecuted or fear that they will be persecuted for racial, religious, nationality, social group membership or political affiliation in their home county.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) follow the authority of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as related to the Asylum Program and the authority of the Code of Federal Regulations when determining the eligibility and procedures of asylum applications.
There are two different ways to obtain asylum in the United States. One is through the Affirmative Process and the other is through the Defensive Process. Each one of these options has its own unique procedural requirements. The Affirmative Process requires that the applicant be physically present in the U.S. at the time of the application. This option is available to all who qualify regardless of how the individual arrived in the U.S. or his/her current immigration status as long as the application is filed within one year of the last arrival in the United States. An asylum applicant can include a spouse and children (under the age of 21 and unmarried), if they are physically in the U.S. If not, once asylum is granted, the applicant can then request asylum for a spouse and children (under the age of 21 and unmarried) by filing a Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition.
To obtain asylum through the Defensive Process, an applicant must seek asylum as a defense against removal from the U.S. Therefore, the Defensive Process requires that an individual be in removal proceedings in immigration court with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). The Immigration Judge will then determine whether the applicant is eligible for asylum based on evidence presented for and against the individual requesting the defensive asylum.
For more detailed explanation of the asylum process and the application requirements contact our office and visit www.uscis.gov.