The asylum Applicant must establish the following:
a) That he or she is a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality; and
b) That he or she is a person who suffered persecution or has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
The two ways of obtaining asylum in the United States are through the affirmative process and defensive process.
1. Affirmative Asylum Processing with US Citizenship and Immigration Services
To obtain asylum through the affirmative asylum process you must be physically present in the United States. You may apply for asylum status regardless of how you arrived in the United States or your current immigration status.
You must apply for asylum within one year of the date of their last arrival in the United States, unless you can show: (a) Changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing; or (b) You filed within a reasonable amount of time given those circumstances.
If your case is not approved and you do not have a legal immigration status, we will issue a document called Notice to Appear (NTA), and forward the case to an Immigration Judge at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). The Immigration Judge will conduct a hearing and issue a decision that is independent of the decision made by USCIS.
2. Defensive Asylum Processing with Immigration Court
A defensive application for asylum occurs when you request asylum as a defense against removal from the U.S. For asylum processing to be defensive, you must be in removal proceedings in immigration court with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).
Individuals are generally placed into defensive asylum processing in one of two ways:
They are referred to an Immigration Judge by USCIS after they have been determined to be ineligible for asylum at the end of the affirmative asylum process, or they are placed in removal proceedings because they: Were apprehended (or caught) in the United States or at a U.S. port of entry without proper legal documents or in violation of their immigration status,
Were caught by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) trying to enter the United States without proper documentation, were placed in the expedited removal process, and were found to have a credible fear of persecution or torture by an Asylum Officer.
The Immigration Judge then decides whether the individual is eligible for asylum. If found eligible, the Immigration Judge will order asylum to be granted. If found ineligible for asylum, the Immigration Judge will determine whether the individual is eligible for any other forms of relief from removal. If found ineligible for other forms of relief, the Immigration Judge will order the individual to be removed from the United States. The Immigration Judge’s decision can be appealed by either party.