Home > Asylum > Eligibility For Asylum

Were you harmed or persecuted in your home country before coming to the United States? Are you physically present in the United States, and do you fear harm if you are sent back to your home country? If you are physically present in the United States, and you were harmed/persecuted in your home country (or if you fear harm), because of something that you cannot change about yourself (or something that you should not have to change), you may be a great candidate for asylum.

Asylum will allow you to live freely in the United States and will allow you to get an eventual Green Card.

It does not matter how you got to the United States (legally entered or illegally). You can apply for asylum status if you are physically present on U.S. soil. However, do not hesitate! Generally, you must apply within 1 year of your most recent arrival in the U.S., unless you can demonstrate: altered circumstances that directly affect your eligibility for asylum; or, that your delay in applying was caused by unusual or exceptional circumstances; and, that you filed in a reasonable time considering those unusual or exceptional circumstances. Just to summarize:

You may qualify for asylum if you have:

Experienced persecution (harm), or you have a reasonable fear of future persecution:

Because of your:

Race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or membership in a social group


Political opinion can refer to any belief that a person may have in a society–usually a controversial belief within a given society, and it doesn’t have to be in relation to any political party. A common example is a belief in women’s rights or education or a belief that gay people should have freedoms that certain societies do not provide them. Political opinion also can encompass a person’s association with groups such as labor unions or student rights organizations, no matter the person’s level of involvement with these organizations. Believe it or not, choosing to remain neutral can also be a political opinion. If you were harmed or persecuted on the basis of a political opinion that you hold, or that the persecutor believed you to have held (called an imputed political opinion), then you may have a claim to asylum in the United States.  Read More


A “particular social group” (PSG) is a definable group of people that society can perceive, that share a fundamental innate characteristic that the group of people either: cannot change (such as family ties or gender), or a characteristic that they should not have to change (such as occupation or sexual orientation). This innate characteristic could also be something that a person cannot change because it happened in the past, such as being a former member of the military or police. If you were harmed because you belong to some perceivable group of people (and you can define your own group for purposes of asylum law), or if you fear future harm because of a PSG, then you may have a good claim to asylum in the United States. Read More


A person’s sexual orientation is an important part of who they are and something they cannot change. If you are an LGBT individual and the government of your home country has laws and practices that discriminate against LGBT people (for example it is illegal to be gay), or if you have been harmed directly because of your sexual orientation because the government does not protect LGBT people, then you likely have a claim to asylum in the United States. Read More


Unfortunately, even in today’s advanced modern world, people are persecuted and harmed on the basis of their race, all over the world. Race is an outdated and obsolete social concept that largely seeks to divide groups of people based on physical traits (such as skin color) and geographic origins. If you were harmed or persecuted on the basis of your race, then you will have to show that the person who persecuted (harmed) you, did so on the basis of that person’s subjective belief that you were a member of a particular racial group in society. Also, if you have not been personally targeted because of your race, but your home society has laws and customs that systematically discriminate against people of your race to the point where basic human rights and dignity are violated, then you may also have a compelling asylum case. If you believe that you may have a claim for asylum based on your racial identity, do not hesitate to contact us today.  Read More


Where a person has faced persecution in the past, but circumstances have changed so that there is little likelihood that the person will face present or future persecution if they are sent back to their home country (say because the government that had persecuted them is no longer in power), then the authorities may deny the applicant asylum. However, it is possible when applying for humanitarian asylum, that the applicant could still get asylum even without the real threat of persecution. This will be a discretionary decision on the part of the judge and will depend on several factors, such as: the severity of the past persecution, the applicant’s family ties and immigration history, criminal and health records, and length of residence of the applicant in the U.S. If you have faced severe persecution in your home country but conditions have changed favorably since you were last there, do not hesitate to contact us. You may still be able to obtain asylum here in the United States. 8 C.F.R. § 1208.13(b)(1)(iii)(B) (2011). Read More


Unfortunately, people are harmed all over the world because of their religious identity. This could be by the government or by the religious majority (or even minority), that the government is not able to control. Religious freedom is something highly valued in the United States as it is what the U.S. was founded upon, and so asylum is available to many of those that faced persecution or fear persecution because of their religion. Read More


National origin as a basis for asylum is explicitly laid out in U.S. Immigration Law. It is closely related to claiming asylum on the basis of ethnic groups, but it is a distinct category. Nationality is concerned with a group of people’s shared political history or aspirations and nationalities tend to be associated with certain geographical areas or independent states. Ethnic groups, on the other hand, are social groups that are identified by others based on having a shared cultural history–particularly shared linguistic history. These concepts in practice often overlap, but they are technically distinct. Ethnic groups tend to cross state and political boundaries where nationality would not. Persecution based on a person’s ethnic group is also a basis to seek asylum and has been recognized in case law. Ethnicity is often publicly seen to overlap with race (another basis for asylum), but it is distinct from race. Racial categories tend to be broader than ethnic categories and often encompass multiple ethnic groups at the same time. If you have been harmed because of your nationality or your ethnic group, or if you fear future harm based on one of these categories, do not hesitate to contact us as you may have a valid claim to protection under U.S. asylum law. Read More

Can I ask for political asylum from outside the US?

NO. To apply for political asylum, you must be in the United States (embassies or diplomatic missions outside the US will not help you in this matter). Being outside the US, you can only apply for refugee status and this procedure is also a complicated procedure.

Can I apply for asylum when crossing the border?

This is possible, and such cases often occur at the border crossing with Mexico. The application directly on the border is an extreme measure. A very important point is that when you cross the border without the necessary permission (US visa) and asylum application, you are most likely to be detained and placed in an immigration prison where you will conduct initial inquiries and check all the facts you previously stated. The decisions of the border service can be delayed for weeks or even months.

Can I apply for political asylum if I am illegally in the US?

You have the right to defend and examine your application, even if you are in an illegal status. It is very important that this happens in the first year of your stay in the country. Otherwise, you have to argue, there are compelling reasons why you did not do this before.

How long does it take to get an interview for asylum?

Beginning on January 29, 2018, the Immigration Department for Asylum (USCIS Citizenship and Immigration Service Group) will give priority to the newest applications when assigning interviews. Such a change in the schedule of interviews will make it possible to weed out those applicants who use groundless statements and try to use this process solely to obtain a work permit and will enable the USCIS to immediately identify such persons and begin the process of their deportation. In reality, the new Priority will allow the USCIS to make decisions on qualified asylum seekers more quickly and efficiently.

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