Home > Asylum > LGBT as part of particular social group


A social group for the purposes of asylum law is generally defined to include many different sets of people. Each set is legally recognized as a specific social group only if everyone within that particular classification has certain characteristics in common that can’t be changed or are so essential to each person’s identity that they shouldn’t be changed.

Accordingly, U.S. courts have determined that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals can be legally classified as members of a particular social group, and seek asylum on this basis.

If you are a homosexual, bisexual or transgender person seeking asylum in the United States as a member of a particular social group, you must be able to prove that you truly identify as a member of the groupand that this resulted in persecution in your country, or you have a reasonable fear of being persecuted because of your sexual preference or gender identity if you are forced to return.


To satisfy the first requirement, you should submit copies of any relevant documents with your application for asylum, and take the originals to the ensuing interview or hearing. These may include but are not limited to amended, government issued identification (such as a driver’s license or passport) that reflects your true gender identity, a sworn statement from a surgeon who performed your gender reassignment operation or the physician/therapist that can confirm you are transitioning from one gender to the other. Other acceptable proof may be  a marriage certificate showing that you are married to someone of the same sex, or documents associated with a civil union.

To satisfy the second requirement, you must provide specific proof of any persecution you endured in your country that was directly linked to your gender identity or sexual preference; or general proof of intolerance and violence directed against people that identify as LGBT by the government, organized groups, and other individuals in your  country.


The examples of proof documenting the persecution you suffered in your country  will depend on the unique circumstances of your case. Therefore, you should be prepared to give a detailed account of what happened in your asylum application and during your interview/hearing. Be sure to include the date of each incident and the name of the person or organization responsible. You should also be prepared to explain why you believe the persecution was linked to your sexual preference or gender identity.

To prove that you have a legitimate fear of persecution if you are forced to return to your country, provide evidence that the government in your country condones or promotes persecution of people based on their sexual preference or gender identity. This could include but is not limited news accounts from the mainstream media documenting such practices; copies of official government policies authorizing mistreatment of gay or transgender people; or information from advocacy or human rights groups detailing such mistreatment.HIV/AIDS Another form of persecution that disproportionately affects the LGBT community is persecution on account of having HIV/AIDS.  Having HIV or AIDS can qualify as a social group in and of itself.  Many people who have been ostracized from their community or denied medical treatment on account of being HIV positive have been successful in obtaining asylum.  Note that while the U.S. used to deny entry to anyone who was HIV positive, this is no longer the case.

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Because it is a confusing and overwhelming process, it is important that you don’t try to apply for asylum in the United States on your own. Instead, you should get an experienced asylum attorney to help with your asylum application and all of the associated steps. At Zontlaw,  our attorneys have a wealth of experience in this area. In fact, we have successfully helped people through this difficult transition so you can be sure that your case will get the full attention it deserves.

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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, apply immigration laws to the facts. 2. Attorneys help applicants to fillout the necessary immigration forms and not make any mistakes in their filing. 3. Attorneys help Applicants prepare for the interview, correctly write a declaration, 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 a Attorneys in your process. Consult the Immigration Attorneys – Here

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