How do you apply for asylum if you have been in the US for over one year?
If you are eligible to file for asylum in the United States you must abide by the asylum one year filing rule.
However, there are many exceptions to this rule. Before the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, a person could apply for asylum at any time. This law created a new eligibility requirement that those applying after April of 1998 had to apply within one year of their last arrival. Exceptions to the asylum one year filing rule include changed circumstances which materially affect your eligibility for asylum and extraordinary circumstances related to the delay in your filing.
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Federal regulations provide a non-exhaustive list of ways in which your circumstances could have changed that may make you eligible for an exemption of the asylum one year filing rule. These include but are not limited to:
- Changed conditions in your country of nationality or last habitual residence
- Changes in applicable US law
- Changes in personal circumstances
- The ending of your spousal or parent-child relationship to the principle applicant in a previous application
- You have become a refugee since leaving your country
The second possibility for an exemption from the asylum one year filing rule is if you have experienced extraordinary circumstances that caused a delay in applying for asylum. These situations include:
- Events or factors in your life that directly caused you to miss the deadline
- Serious illness or mental or physical disability
- Death or serious illness or incapacity of your legal representative or member of your immediate family
- Legal disability
- Ineffective assistance of counsel
Establishing proof that an exception to the asylum one year filing rule applies to you can be difficult. It is your responsibility to provide evidence of the circumstances related to the timing of your application and that the application was filed within a reasonable amount of time thereafter.
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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