Individuals who believe that they are unable to return to their native countries because they have suffered persecution or have a reasonable fear that they will suffer persecution in the future due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion may qualify for asylum, which allows an individual from another country to remain in the United States. While many people confuse refugee status with asylum, the two are different, as asylum seekers must be physically present in the United States in order to apply for asylum.
Applications for asylum are decided on a case-by-case basis, so it is important for those seeking asylee status to ensure that they provide immigration authorities with complete and accurate documentation and information regarding their situations.
The information provided below is intended to answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding asylum in the United States. For more information or for specific advice regarding your situation, call our office to speak with an immigration attorney today.
How Do I Apply for Asylum?
In order to apply for asylum, a person must be physically present in the United States and file his or her application within one year of arrival, subject to certain limited exceptions. In order to apply, you must file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal with the appropriate service center, which for those in Illinois is the Nebraska Service Center. The form requires a significant amount of information about the applicant’s background, including information about the persecution that was suffered or feared, his or her family history, work history, and criminal history. Applicants must support their application with detailed testimony regarding their fear of return to their home country, and as much supporting documentation as possible. Applicants are required to attend an interview with a trained Asylum Officer regarding their application.
Does Being Granted Asylum Allow Me to Legally Work in the United States?
Yes. Individuals who have been granted asylum may legally work in the United States. Most asylees should also obtain Employment Authorization Documents for the purpose of identification or convenience for use with potential employers. In addition, people who have not yet been granted asylum may be eligible for employment authorization if the following facts are true:
- 150 days have passed since their application for asylum was filed, excluding any delays that were the filer’s fault; and
- A decision has not yet been made on the individual’s application.
Unfortunately, a wide range of actions may be considered the filer’s fault and may stop the accrual of time. Therefore, it is important to seek the advice of a qualified attorney.
Can Asylees Obtain a Green Card?
People who have been granted asylum may apply for a green card (which grants permanent resident status) after one year. In addition, family members who have obtained derivative asylum may also apply for a green card. Obtaining a green card is an essential part of the path to full citizenship, as individuals who have had a permanent resident status for five years and are otherwise eligible may apply for naturalization.
Contact a Chicago Asylum Law Firm Today to Schedule a Consultation
Individuals who are seeking asylum in the United States should consult with an experienced immigration lawyer as soon as possible. The assistance of an attorney can have a direct impact on whether or not your application for asylum is accepted and can often help avoid any potential issues that may arise. To schedule a consultation with one of our Chicago asylum attorneys, call Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC today at 312-332-2550.