Are you eligible for political asylum?
You can obtain political asylum in the US if you can demonstrate that you have a well-founded fear of persecution if you were forced to return to your country. You must apply to the USCIS or, if you are in removal proceedings, before an Immigration Judge.
You need to show that you might be persecuted because of your political opinions or activities. Your fear of persecution can either be from the government in power or from a group or organization that the government is unwilling or unable to control.
You must submit form I-589. There is no filing fee. You should submit sufficient evidence to support your application. For example, attach a detailed affidavit, evidence of past persecution if any, country human rights reports, newspaper articles specific to your situation, proof of threats against you and any other documents showing that your fears are well-founded.
If your case is in Immigration Court, it is recommended that you obtain the services of an expert witness who can testify about the human rights abuses in your country. The expert should testify whether you could be subject to persecution if you were forced to return.
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Generally, you must apply for political asylum within one year of your admission to the US, although there are numerous exceptions to this requirement. If you have suffered past persecution in your country, this is an important factor which should be documented in your application.
Resources for Political Asylum
- Form I-589 Application for Asylum (USCIS)
- Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (USCIS)
- Form I-730, Application for Asylee Relatives (USCIS)
- Green Card for an Asylee (USCIS)
- Refugees and Asylum (US Department of State)
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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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