If you are at the United States border, whether crossing at an official point of entry or if you are caught by Border Patrol while crossing illegally, you are permitted by U.S. and International Law, to seek asylum in the United States. Officials are required to ask if you are afraid to go home. If you want asylum in the United States, you must make it very clear that you are afraid to go home. At this point, you will be referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and you will be detained (jailed), while you wait for a “credible fear interview” to take place with an asylum officer.
The Credible Fear Interview. The time it will take for you to have your credible fear interview will vary. You will stay detained (jailed) until your interview, but eventually (sometimes there is a delay of several days–or longer), you will be provided a credible fear interview with an asylum officer from USCIS. Often, this interview will be conducted on the phone, and these interviews normally last about two hours. The purpose of the Credible Fear Interview is for the asylum officer to determine if you as a person seeking asylum would be likely to win your asylum claim in Immigration Court.
Individual Asylum Hearing. You will eventually have an individual hearing with an Immigration Judge in which your case for asylum and all the evidence will be considered. For the best chances of getting asylum during this hearing, you are going to want an attorney. Unfortunately, attorneys are not provided by the government in Immigration Court (and you must find your own). At the end of the hearing, or after it, the Judge will make a decision about whether or not you have been granted asylum.
If you are granted Asylum. If you are granted Asylum, congratulations! However, it needs to be mentioned that the government can unfortunately decide to appeal against the decision. If they do not appeal the decision (they have 30 days to appeal), then you officially have asylum. You can start building your new life in the United States. After you have held asylum for one year, you can then Adjust Your Status by filing a Form I-485 to get your Green Card/Permanent Residency. If they do appeal the decision, then your case will be reviewed by an institution called the Board of Immigration Appeals (the BIA). This can take a while for the BIA to consider your case. Unlike with the Immigration Judge, you will not ordinarily have to appear in person. Instead, the BIA will consider all the evidence and transcript of your previous hearing with the Immigration Judge. However, for the best chance of success, you will still want to work with a lawyer to draft a brief that explains why you should be granted asylum. Hopefully, the BIA will decide in your favor, and you will be finally granted asylum. Then, after you have had asylum for one you, you can then apply to Adjust Your Status and get a Green Card/Permanent Residency by filing a Form I-485. If the BIA decides against you and sides with the government, there may be appeals options available to you still, in the U.S. Courts of Appeals.
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Once you have been given “recommended approval” for asylum, it can take several months or even a year or more, for you to get your final approval notice in the mail. If you haven’t already applied for an Employment Authorization Document, you can do so with “recommended approval,” as well as a social security card. These things will allow you to work while are waiting for your grant of “final approval” to come in the mail. Once you receive final approval, exactly one year after your final approval date, you can apply for your Green Card/Permanent Residency by filing a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
If you are denied asylum, the good news is that you can appeal the decision. If you don’t appeal the decision, however, you will be deported. If you decide to appeal the decision, you will appeal to an institution called the Board of Immigration Appeals (the BIA). If you appeal the decision, you generally won’t have to appear in person for this appeal. Rather, the BIA will consider all the evidence from your case, and the Immigration Court’s record of your previous denied hearing. If the BIA believes that the Immigration Court erred in denying you asylum, then they can grant you asylum or send the case back to the Immigration Judge. Even though you don’t have to appear in person for a court hearing for this appeal, having an attorney represent you in this process can greatly increase your chances of success. A competent and knowledgeable Immigration Attorney will be able to best present your appeal and explain why the Immigration Judge erred in denying you asylum, in a complex written argument for the Board of Immigration Appeals. If the BIA ultimately grants you asylum on appeal, congratulations! You can apply for a Green Card/Permanent Residency by filing Form I-485 after being in the U.S. for one year with asylee status. If the BIA rejects your appeal, then you may have options to appeal your case to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
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The U.S. asylum process is very complicated, so the best chance of success comes from working with an experienced asylum attorney. We are highly experienced in US asylum law. We have helped people from all over the world fleeing persecution to gain asylum in the US. Our attorneys, translators, and support staff will work with you individually to give you the best chance of success possible. We know how difficult and heart-wrenching the asylum process can be, and we will be with you every step of the way. Your citizenship or your residency status is something you should entrust to a professional. Call the top New York Immigration Attorneys toll-free at 1-888-ZONTLAW / 1-888-966-8529.
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.
Can I apply for asylum with a minimum of materials, and send documents and evidence after I apply?
It is possible, but we do not recommend it. In cases where you sent an off-the-shelf petition, the fact of not being prepared may negatively affect your interview and raise suspicions about the reliability of the information provided earlier.
Is it possible to apply for political asylum without a lawyer?
Some apply for political asylum on their own, filling out Form I-589 and attaching a declaration. Applicants, who apply for political asylum in the US do not need to hire a lawyer and an interpreter to apply for political asylum in the United States. But you need to consider important points: 1. Immigration Attorneys analyze the facts of persecution, and apply immigration laws to the facts. 2. Attorneys help applicants to fill out the necessary immigration forms and not make any mistakes in their filing. 3. Attorneys help Applicants prepare for the interview, correctly write a declaration, and collect documents. 4. Attorneys have the right to intervene in the process by using immigration law at all stages of the proceedings. 5. Attorneys can help find an interpreter and represent refugees in interviews and in the process of deportation to the immigration court. When your future is at stake, you need to weigh everything for and against the participation of Attorneys in your process.
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