How can you increase your chances that your asylum application will be approved?
You qualify for asylum if you have been persecuted or have a “well-founded fear of persecution” in your country based on (1) political opinion, (2) religion, (3) race, (4) nationality, or (5) membership in a particular social group.
On March 23, 2023, the US and Canada reached a deal to turn away asylum seekers who try to cross their borders unlawfully.
On February 21, 2023, the DHS & DOJ proposed a rule to make it more difficult to apply for asylum at the US – Mexico border.
On November 9, 2022, the USCIS announced that Affirmative Asylum applications can be filed online.
On December 2, 2021, in compliance with an order from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Biden Administration released guidance regarding the re-implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols (aka “the Remain in Mexico Program”).
On June 16, 2021, a Attorney General Merrick Garland reversed Trump era decisions making it all but impossible for persons to gain asylum based on fears of domestic and/or gang violence.
Use Form I-589 to apply. Attach a detailed affidavit and documentation in support of your application. There is no filing fee.
You cannot apply for permission to work (employment authorization) in the United States at the same time you apply for asylum. You may apply for employment authorization 365 calendar days after you file your complete asylum application.
Before you submit your I-589 packet, you may find it helpful to read 4 Tips to Help You Win Your Case.
If you are outside the US, you may apply for refugee status based on these same criteria. Your fear of persecution must be either by the government of your country or by a group that the government is unable or unwilling to control.
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If you are able to establish past persecution, a presumption arises that you have established a well-founded fear of persecution. The burden of proof shifts to the government to demonstrate that circumstances have changed and that you no longer have a well-founded fear of persecution or that you could avoid persecution by relocating in another part of your country and that it would be reasonable for you to do so.
If you are in lawful immigration status, you can submit an application for asylum directly with the appropriate USCIS Service Center. Should your application be denied, you will remain in lawful status.
However, if you are not in lawful status, should your application not be approved by the USCIS, you will be placed in removal proceedings. If you are in removal proceedings before an Immigration Judge, in addition to applying for asylum, you may be eligible to apply for withholding of removal and for relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).
Once your application has been pending for over 150 days, you may apply for a work permit using form I-765. If your application is approved, and your spouse and/or children are outside the US, use form I-730 to bring them to the US as asylees. One year after your application is granted, you may apply for a green card.
- 4 Tips to Help You Win Your Case
- How to Increase Your Chances of Winning
- Expert Witnesses in U.S. Asylee Cases: A Handbook (97 pages)
- Asylum vs. Withholding of Removal
- USCIS: Affirmative I-589 Scheduling Bulletin
- Gender-Based Claims
- Firm Resettlement
- One Year Filing Requirement
- Convention Against Torture
- LGBT-Based Claims
- One Child Policy
- Membership in a Particular Social Group
- Withholding of Removal
- Temporary Protected Status
This page is divided into the following subtopics:
- General Information
- Success Stories
- USCIS Asylum Officer Training Manuals
- Section 209 Adjustment of Status
- Articles and Reports
- Credible & Reasonable Fear FAQs
- Practice Advisories
- Asylum (USCIS)
- Refugees and Asylees – USCIS Policy Manual
- USCIS Announces Online Filing for Affirmative I-589 Applications (11-9-22)
- Asylum in the United States – AIC (6-11-20)
- 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Eligibility and Applications FAQ (USCIS)
- Services Available for Asylees and Refugees (USCIS)
- Office Locator (USCIS)
- Humanitarian Asylum Resource Guide
- Afghan Asylum
- I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition
- USCIS Processing of I-589 Cases (USCIS)
- Country of Origin Experts (Immigrant Refugee Rights Initiative)
- Experts on Countries of Origin by Country (Electronic Immigration Network)
- Lawsuit Forces USCIS to Schedule Interview
- Iranian Woman Who Converted to Christianity
- Winning Your Case in Immigration Court
USCIS OFFICER TRAINING MANUALS
- Firm Resettlement
- Refugee Definition
- Well Founded Fear
- Interviewing and Note Taking
- IRFA and Religious Persecution
- Overview of UNHCR and Concepts of International Protection
ASYLEE ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS
- Implementation of Ngwanyia Settlement Agreement
- AILF Announces Settlement of Asylee Adjustment Lawsuit
- Ngwanyia v. Ashcroft – Complete Text of Decision
- U.S. and Canada Reach an Agreement on Turning Away Asylum Seekers (3-23-23)
- Biden Administration Announces New Border Crackdown (2-21-23)
- Asylee Backlog is Nearing 1.6 Million (12-26-22)
- A Sober Assessment of the Growing U.S. Asylee Backlog (12-22-22)
- U.S. Can’t Use Health Rule to Expel Migrant Families Facing Persecution, Court Says (3-4-22)
- Updating General Guidelines on Maximum Validity Periods for EADs (2-7-22)
- Court-Ordered Reimplementation of MPP Policy Guidance (12-2-21)
- Biden Issued A New Policy That Would Reshape How Asylum-Seekers Are Processed At The Border (8-18-21)
- U.S. Ends Trump Policy Limiting Asylum for Gang and Domestic Violence Survivors (6-16-21)
- Cooperative Agreement with Honduras Finalized (12-18-20)
- El Salvador Begins Implementation of Asylum Cooperative Agreement (12-15-20)
- Mendez Rojas v. Wolf – Final Settlement Agreement (7-28-20)
- Federal Judge Strikes Down Trump Administration’s Asylum Rule (7-01-20)
- New Rule Eliminating 30 Day Processing Deadline for Adjudication of Employment Applications Filed by Initial Asylum Applicants (6-29-20)
- Government Press Release on Proposed Asylum Rule (6-10-20)
- Proposed Rule to Limit Asylum to US (June 2020)
- Expelling Asylum Seekers is Not the Answer (4-27-20)
- Why Trump’s Fourth Secretary of Homeland Security Just Resigned (10-11-19)
- Do Asylees Have a Future at the Southern Border? (10-03-19)
- How the U.S. Asylee System Is Keeping Migrants at Risk in Mexico (10-01-19)
- After SCOTUS Ruling, Asylees Ask Court for Protection (9-26-19)
- An Immigration Attorney at the A.C.L.U. on Fighting Trump’s Asylee Ban (9-17-19)
- What Happens When A Person Seeks Asylee Status at the U.S.-Mexico Border (9-16-19)
- Supreme Court Says Trump Can Bar Asylees While Legal Fight Continues (9-12-19)
- Supreme Court Grants Government’s Request for Stay in Barr v. East Bay Sanctuary Convenant (9-11-19)
- Opposing the “Asylee Ban 2.0” Interim Final Rule (8-16-19)
- U.S. – Guatemala Safe-Third Country Agreement Risks Endangering Asylees (7-26-19)
- Trump’s restriction blocked by federal judge (7-24-19)
- ACLU Files Lawsuit to Block Trump’s Sweeping Asylee Ban (7-16-19)
- DOJ and DHS Issue Rule Restricting Who Can Qualify for Asylum (7-16-19)
- The Trump Administration Plans to Incarcerate Some Asylees Indefinitely (4-17-19)
- Court Decision Ensures Timely Decisions of EAD Applications by Asylee Applicants (3-15-19)
- 9th Circuit Appeals Court Rules that Those Denied Asylee Status at Border have the Right to Challenge the Denial in Federal Court (3-07-19)
- Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s New Asylum Policy (November 2018)
- US Refugee Resettlement Program Reaches A New Low (October 2018)
- Matter of A-B- Considerations – ILRC (9-27-18)
- USCIS Policy Memo: Guidance for Processing Reasonable Fear, Credible Fear, Asylum, and Refugee Claims in Accordance with Matter of A-B- (July 11, 2018)
- AG Sessions Tightens Rules for Victims of Domestic and Group Violence – Matter of A-B- (6-11-18)
- The CSPA and Asylees – ILRC (5-21-18)
- US Stops Accepting Applications Under the Central American Minors Program (11-09-17)
- READ MEMO: Trump Administration Quietly Made I-589s More Difficult in the United States (3-10-17)
- USCIS Increases Validity of Work Permits to Two Years (10-06-16)
The proposed rule is scheduled to effect on May 11, 2023. Persons who arrive at a port of entry and claim asylum would be allowed to enter the US only if they meet certain criteria and use a mobile app (CBP One) to schedule an appointment to review their applications. However, persons who cross the border illegally would have to prove that they were denied safe haven while in transit in order to be allowed into the US. If not, they would subject to expedited removal.
ASYLUM: ARTICLES AND REPORTS
- State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (1999 – Present)
- Immigration Judge Reports (TRAC)
- Judge-by-Judge Decisions in Immigration Courts FY 2014-2019 (TRAC)
- Outcome Increasingly Depends on Judge Assigned – 2016 (TRAC)
- International Religious Freedom Reports
- Trafficking in Persons Reports (2001 – Present)
- Amnesty International
- Human Rights Watch
- Challenges to Researching Country of Origin Information (February 2017)
- Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2016 (10-19-15)
- Chandra v. Holder, Jr., U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Motions to Reopen (5-12-14)
- Employment Authorization: Strategies to Avoid Stopping the Clock (2-5-14)
- Oshodi v. Holder: Petitioner Has Constitutional Right to Testify in Support of Asylee Application (8-27-13)
- INS Memo on Child Status Protection Act
- Closing the Asylee Door by Attorneys Carl Shusterman & David Neal (1995)
- Seeking Asylee Status in the U.S. by Attorneys Carl Shusterman & Michael Straus (1991)
CREDIBLE & REASONABLE FEAR FAQs
- Findings of Credible Fear Plummet Amid Widely Disparate Outcomes by Location and Judge (TRAC)
- Guidance on Immediate Family Members in Credible Fear (USCIS)
- Mendez Rojas V. Wolf, The One-Year Deadline, And Jurisdiction (4-08-21)
- Mendez Rojas Final Settlement Agreement FAQ (3-25-21)
- Policies Affecting 589 Seekers at the Border (1-29-20)
- Asylum in the United States (5-14-18)
- Mandamus Actions: Avoiding Dismissal and Proving the Case (03-08-17)
- Employment Authorization: Strategies to Avoid Stopping the Clock (02-05-14)
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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.