If you qualify for asylum, you may be permitted to remain in the United States legally as an immigrant.
There are many reasons why someone may desire to immigrate to the United States. For many, a move to the U.S. represents new opportunities and possibilities; for others, not only is moving to the U.S. a chance for a fresh start, but it may also be a way to escape a dangerous and traumatic life. Indeed, for those who are living in a country where they are experiencing threats, harm, or persecution, leaving may be essential to wellbeing and livelihood. For these persons, asylum may be an option.
What is Asylum?
Asylum is a form of legal protection that is granted to persons who have immigrated to the U.S. who face persecution or harm in their own country. Through the asylum process, a person who has entered the U.S. and meets eligibility requirements is allowed to remain in the U.S. and is granted legal status. Those who are granted this legal status are called asylees.
Who is Eligible for Asylum?
In order to be eligible for asylum, a person must meet certain eligibility requirements. The requirements for seeking and being granted asylum are as follows:
- You must be physically in the U.S. or seeking entry to the U.S. at a port of entry at the time that you seek asylum. Unlike a standard visa or other methods of legally entering the United States, a person must already be in the U.S. or at a U.S. entry port at the time they seek asylum in order to be considered.
- You must be facing persecution in your own country. You cannot seek asylum in the United States unless you are a victim of persecution in your own country. Persecution means harm or the threat of harm to you, your family, or people like you (people who share your race, culture, religion, etc.).
- Persecution must be based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or belonging to a social group. If you are not being persecuted based on one of the above factors, you are not eligible for asylum.
How to Apply for Asylum
To apply for asylum, you must file a Form I-589 – Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal within one year of your arrival in the United States. If you are at a U.S. border entry point, you can request asylum at the border. There are some limited exceptions to the one-year filing deadline an attorney may discuss with you. You do not have to pay any fee to pay for asylee status, and you can include your spouse and children (if they are in the U.S. with you at the time of your application) in your application. If your family is not currently with you, you can file a petition to bring them to the United States after being granted asylum status.
Our Experienced Nashville, TN Immigration Attorneys Can Help
Being a victim of persecution is terrifying. If you are being persecuted in your country, you may have the right to enter and remain in the United States as an asylee. If you are currently in Nashville, Tennessee or the surrounding areas and need help with your Application for Asylum, call our experienced Nashville, Tennessee immigration attorneys at the office of Ozment Law, PLC directly today.