If you have been in the United States for less than a year and fear returning to your home country because you will be persecuted, you may qualify for asylum. The U.S. government grants asylum to those who have suffered persecution in the past by their home country or are likely to suffer persecution in the future because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
What is the Process to Obtain Asylum?
When I meet with you, we discuss your case in detail and make sure you are likely to qualify for asylum. Everything we discuss will remain confidential. Obtaining asylum is difficult but if you have a truly strong claim, it is possible.
After you hire us, we provide you with a list of documents and start working on your statement. We meet with our clients two to three times to ensure that their statements are both detailed and complete - this strengthens your asylum claim and your credibility.
Aside from your statement, we also submit a large volume of articles and government reports detailing the country conditions in your home country and how that relates to your asylum claim. We also gather any evidence you have of the harm you suffered in your home country.
After we thoroughly prepare your case for filing and attach all supporting evidence and statements, we submit your case to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After USCIS receives your application, they will schedule you for a biometrics appointment where they take your photograph and fingerprints.
After your biometrics appointment, we wait for an interview date with the asylum office. If you live in Los Angeles, it currently takes four to five years before your interview is scheduled. This provides us with an opportunity to try to collect even more documents in support of your case.
After your asylum application has been pending for 180 days with USCIS, we file for your work authorization, at no additional cost. Once you receive your work authorization card, you can receive a temporary social security number and legally work.
When we receive an appointment date for your asylum interview, we will contact you and completely prepare you for your asylum interview.
How Long is the Asylum Interview?
The asylum interview usually lasts between 2 to 4 hours, depending on the asylum officer and the particular facts of your case. If the asylum officer grants asylum, we will wait for the approval in the mail.
What Happens After I Receive Asylum?
You will have status as an asylee and be eligible to apply for a green card one year after your grant of asylum.
Credibility and Asylum
One of the most important things in asylum law is credibility. When you go in for your asylum interview, the officer will look to see if your statements and oral testimony are credible. The asylum officers will ask extremely specific questions and require detailed responses. Our office makes sure that you are as ready as possible for their questioning.
If the officer does not find you credible, they will refer your case to an immigration judge. This is another opportunity to provide credible testimony.
Green Cards and Asylum
If you have received asylum, you will be eligible to apply for a green card exactly one year from the date that you receive a grant of asylum. In order to be eligible for a green card, you must file a form I-485, be physically present in the U.S. when you file the I-485, be physically present for at least one year after receiving asylum, and not have a criminal record or deportation orders against you.
What Documents Will I Need?
These are the forms that we typically prepare in an asylum case:
- Form I-589 (12 pages)
- G-325 (1 page)
- G-1145 (1 page)
We generally attach the following documents:
- Your sworn statement
- Sworn statements of any witnesses
- Psychological evaluation, if necessary
- Your birth certificate (with certified translation)
- 2” by 2” passport-style photograph of you
- A copy of every page of your passport
- A copy of your I-94 (if available)
- A copy of your spouse’s birth certificate (with certified translation)
- A copy of your marriage certificate (with certified translation)
- A copy of your children’s birth certificates (with certified translation)
- A copy of any divorce decrees of you and your spouse
- If your spouse and children are applying, a copy of every single page of their passports
- Any immigration applications you have filed with any immigration agency
- Proof of membership in any political or religious organization or any other organization which caused you your problems
- Proof that you belong to a certain racial, ethnic, or social group or particular nationality
- Police reports made by you or family members regarding your problems in your native country
- Court documents from your country that relate to your story and the problems you had
- Medical records from your native country if you were injured or treated
- Medical records from the U.S. that document injuries sustained as a result of persecution from your home country
- Death certificates of any family members whose deaths are related to your case
- Letters or sworn affidavits from people in your home country who can discuss the facts of your case
- Written threats or other evidence showing you received threats on your life
- Newspaper articles that specifically include your name, the names of anyone you mention in your story, or specifically report on events in your story
- Proof that any family members were granted asylum
If you’d like to start gathering these documents, you can download the checklist we use in my office by clicking here.
How Much Does It Cost?
There are no government filing fees associated with your application. My office usually charges $5,000 to work on your case. More complex cases involving criminal issues or additional family members added to the application may cost more.
These attorney fees cover all work performed and any questions you may have throughout the process until you receive your green card. If the government requests any additional evidence, we respond to them without an additional fee.
Many of our clients are on interest-free monthly payment plans with an initial payment of $1,000 to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions About Asylum
You must apply for asylum within one year from when you last enter the U.S. If you file after the one year deadline, you must have a good reason as to why you waited more than a year to file for asylum.
Yes. You are not required to have a legal entry into the United States in order to qualify for asylum.
It depends. We run a background check to see whether your criminal record will prevent you from receiving asylum.
Yes. We can file for your work permit 180 days after the United States government receives your asylum application.
There are no government filing fees for asylum.
Receiving approval of your asylum case can take four to six years. If you have a strong asylum case, the most important thing is to get started as soon as you have the ability.
If you have applied for asylum, it is best that you do not travel. However, if you need to leave the country, you will need to apply for advance parole. Our offices can help you obtain a travel permit while your case is pending.