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How to Apply for Asylum When You Are Already in the U.S.

Posted on in Immigration

New Canaan asylum application lawyerYou may be granted asylum in the United States if you have suffered persecution in your home country due to your race, nationality, religion, political opinions, or membership in a certain social group, or if you have a “credible fear” of such persecution if you return to your home country.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes a distinction between the terms asylee and refugee. If you are applying for asylum from within the U.S. or at a port of entry, USCIS considers you an asylee or asylum seeker. If you apply from a location abroad, you are considered a refugee applying for admission. This article will only address the issues of asylum seekers.

How a Person in the U.S. Can Apply for Asylum 

If you have already entered the United States, you may be allowed to remain if you meet the criteria for asylum and are deemed admissible to the U.S. You must file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year after entering the U.S. The assistance of an experienced immigration attorney is recommended, because even a minor error in your application can result in processing delays or outright denial of your request for asylum.

You may include on your Form I-589 application your spouse and unmarried children under age 21 who are also already in the U.S. If you did not include them on your initial application, you may add them at any time prior to a final decision being made in your case. 

How Asylum-Seekers Can Obtain Authorization to Work in the U.S.

You cannot lawfully work in the United States until your request for asylum is granted, unless USCIS has taken more than 150 days to process your application, in which case you can apply for employment authorization using USCIS Form I-765. You will have to wait a minimum of 30 days after applying for USCIS to grant your employment authorization, meaning that you will not be able to work for a minimum of 180 days after applying for asylum.

You may apply for a green card, which allows you to permanently live and work in the U.S., one year after being granted asylum. 

Backlogs and Quotas for Asylum Cases

The U.S. currently has a backlog of over 300,000 affirmative cases involving almost 500,000 individuals who have proactively applied for asylum and are awaiting a ruling on their application. Another 348,000 defensive cases, involving people who are already in removal proceedings and have requested asylum to avoid removal, are pending in the immigration court system. 

In Fiscal Year 2018, which ended September 30, 2018, the U.S. granted asylum to roughly 31,600 individuals and approved the admission of roughly 22,500 refugees from abroad. In Fiscal Year 2019, the proposed ceiling for refugee admissions is 30,000 individuals; there is no defined limit on the number of people who can be granted asylum.

Call on a Skillful Fairfield County Asylum Attorney

If you or someone you know wishes to enter the United States as a refugee or to remain in the U.S. through an application for asylum, call 203-323-1440 to speak to a Stamford refugee and asylum lawyer with over 15 years of experience. Gonzalez Law Office, LLC is dedicated to assisting families with immigration, naturalization, and deportation defense.





Fairfield County Bar Association Connecticut Bar Association American Immigration Lawyers Association Connecticut American Immigration Lawyers Association
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