Who Is Eligible for Asylum or Refugee Status?

  • Dec 12 2017

Some people in the United States have left their home country because of turmoil or unresolved issues. They may be afraid for their own safety, particularly if they return to their home country. Under these circumstances, these immigrants may be entitled to special legal protections in the United States.

The difference between “asylum” and “refugee” is just a matter of timing. Those who want to have asylum are already in the United States or at the border. Refugees, on the other hand, have not yet arrived in the United States. Once you have been granted either status, you may be able to stay in the U.S. indefinitely.

Those who are granted asylum or refugee status can work legally in the U.S., and they must apply for a green card within one year of entering the United States. As a result, this type of status is highly sought after for immigrants coming to the U.S. under duress.

Qualifying for Refugee or Asylum Status

There are two major requirements to qualify for refugee or asylum status.

  1. If you return to your home country, you will be persecuted. You must base this conclusion on the fact that you have been victimized in the past or there is a basis for your fear of future persecution.
  2. The basis for persecution must fall under one of the following five categories: (1) race; (2) religion; (3) nationality; (4) political opinion; or (5) membership in a particular social group.

The term “persecution” generally means that you will be harassed, punished, injured, or otherwise oppressed. Persecution involves physical or mental harm. There are no specific types of abuse that are required for refugee or asylum status, but they often including threats or acts of violence, torture, imprisonment, or any denial of fundamental human rights.

Refugee or asylum status is often granted where the immigrant’s home country has committed crimes against humanity, such as:

  • Torture or imprisonment for those who dissent against the desired political opinion
  • Genocide against a specific people
  • Left out certain religious sects from the political process
  • Fired weapons on otherwise peaceful protestors

Applying for Refugee Status

To apply to be considered a refugee, you must receive a referral to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). They will help you fill out your application and go through the admission process. It primarily includes the application and an interview process.

If you are already considered a refugee, and you want your family members to join you in the United States. You can apply by filing Form 1-730, Asylee Relative Petition. It applies to your spouse and your children who are under the age of 21. You are required to apply within two years of your arrival to the United States.

Applying for Asylum Status

To apply for asylum, you must complete Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. This must be done within one year of your arrival to the United States. You can apply on behalf of your spouse and minor children at the same time as well.

Getting Legal Help With Asylum or Refugee Status

Regardless of your potential status, getting help from an attorney who understands the application process can be vital. Call Talamantes Immigration Law Firm today to learn more.

Posted in: Deportation Defense