Asylum is a status that individuals can use when they are fleeing danger and persecution in their home country. They may fear for their own life or the lives of their children.
In some ways, this is similar to refugee status, in the sense that you are seeking safety in the United States and you don’t believe you would have it if you were deported and sent back home. However, it is a bit different, and there are a few things you need to know.
You seek asylum status in the U.S.
One of the biggest differences is that refugees can seek refugee status overseas and then come to the United States after it is granted. With asylum, you typically seek that status at a Port of Entry or after you’re already in the United States. It is a bit of a different process, with an emphasis on safety, since you’ve already attempted to flee the persecution at home.
You have a right to seek asylum, though it can be denied
The United Nations Protocol from 1967, which the U.S. has signed, gives people the right to seek asylum in the country. This is also a major part of U.S. immigration law. You have a right to seek this status, and the U.S. is obligated to protect those who are granted such status. However, asylum status can be denied, so don’t assume that it is automatically granted.
How long is it going to take?
Asylum can take years. There are cases where individuals start the process and then are given an interview date, but they look at the date and find out that it is not even the same year. That’s how far it is in the future. You need to make sure that you’re in it for the long run. The good news is that, if you’re already inside the United States, you may have greater protection than you would at home, even while your status is considered.
Can you work?
Yes, if you are given asylum in the U.S., then you have the right to legally work within the country. You are also protected from deportation, which is important for those who have illegally entered the country and then asked for asylum status.
How should you get started?
This process can take a long time, as noted above, and it can be very complicated. Plus, the outcome is incredibly important for you and your family. For all of these reasons and more, it’s very important to understand every step that you’ll need to take to get this legal process underway.