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Apply for Asylum

To apply for asylum, an alien who is physically present in the U.S. must submit a Form I-589 (Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal). In support of this application, the applicant must show the following: He/She has a fear of persecution;The fear is well founded; “at least one central reason for” persecution is race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; and He/She is unable to return to the home country or country of last residence because of persecution or a well founded fear or prosecution.

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Asylum is a type of protection that the United States provides for people who face persecution. “Persecution” means unfair treatment due to a person’s race, religion, nationality, political beliefs, or membership in certain groups. To receive this protection, you must show that you have faced persecution in your country or that you have a good reason to fear persecution if you return.

If you are in the United States, you may apply for asylum, even if you are here on parole, illegally, or only for a short time. If your application is granted, you will be known as an “asylee.” There are many benefits of becoming an asylee. You will be allowed to work in the United States, and your spouse and children may be allowed to live here as well. Asylees may also receive money, medical care, and help finding a job and learning English. After a year as an asylee, you will be allowed to apply for a Green Card. Finally, after four years with a Green Card, you can apply for United States citizenship.

COMPLETE THE ONLINE FORM

Once you take our free, easy to understand eligibility quizzes, our system will choose the best option for you. After answering simple questions, the appropriate immigration form will be generated for you. Our step-by-step instructions will tell you what to do next, how much to pay and where to send your form.


How to Use

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Pass eligibility quiz

All our eligibility quizzes are prepared by experienced immigration attorneys and are easy to use and understand. It only takes several minutes to complete a quiz and find out if you all eligible to apply. If you pass the quiz we will automatically choose all required forms for your immigration case

Fill the forms

We provide you with all immigration forms you will need to submit to the USCIS and receive a positive result. Our forms are customised to ensure that you fully understand all questions and provide accurate answers in all required fields

Document Checklist

Once you fill out your immigration form(s) our system will generate a customized checklist of documents you will need to submit to the USCIS with your immigration case. You can easily upload your documents into our system and request an attorney review to ensure that they are accurate and sufficient

Why You Should Use USImmigrationForms.com

USImmigrationForms.com will be there for you every step of the way. We can promise:

  • No Mistakes. Simplified quizzes ensure that you understand the questions so that you can give complete and accurate answers.
  • No Guesswork About Forms. We automatically include all the forms that you need for your application. We even pre-fill information on the forms so you never enter the same information twice.
  • Your Progress will be Automatically Saved. You can save your progress anytime and come back later to finish without losing all your work.
  • Document Check list. Predefined and customized list of all supporting documents based on your immigration case and your answers.
  • Step by Step Instructions. We include everything from how to assemble your completed documents into a proper filing package, how to write the check to USCIS, and where you will need to mail your application for filing. We even provide with free shipping label (USPS).
  • Access from Your Mobile Device. On the go? No problem. Use our handy mobile app to keep working even when you’re not at home.
  • Quick and Easy Preparation. Use your phone to take pictures of your supporting documents and easily upload them to your file.
  • Certified Translation of Supporting Documents. You can upload your own translated copy or we can translate your required supporting documents into English. (Extra charges apply)

USCIS

Traditional method of filing

Do you know if you are eligible to apply?+-

NO, See USCIS Instruction

Do you know what immigration form(s) to use? +-

NO, See USCIS Instruction

Do you know what documents and/or evidence to submit with your application?+-

NO, See USCIS Instruction

Do you know the amount of the government fee(s) you need to pay?+-

NO, See USCIS Instruction

Do you know where to file the your immigration package?+-

NO, See USCIS Instruction

usimmigrationforms

Fill out the N-400 form easily and quickly

Do you know if you are eligible to apply?+-

All our eligibility quizzes are prepared by experienced immigration attorneys and are easy to use and understand. It only takes several minutes to complete a quiz andfind outif you alleligible to apply. If you pass the quiz we will automatically choose all required forms for your immigration case.

Do you know what immigration form(s) to use?+-

We provide you with all immigration forms you will needto submit tothe USCIS and receive a positive result. Our Questionaries are customized to ensure that you fully understand all questions and provide accurate answers in all required fields.

Do you know what documents and/or evidence to submit with your application?+-

Once you fill out your immigration form(s) oursystem will generate a customized checklist ofdocuments you will needto submit to the USCIS with your immigration case. You can easily upload your documents into oursystem and request anattorney review toensure that they are accurate and sufficient.

Do you know the amount of the government fee(s) you need to pay?+-

Get detailed fees instruction andexample how write your check to USCIS

Do you know where to file the your immigration package?+-

Once your application ready tobe filed you will be provided with detailed instructions onwhere to file and FREE Shipping to USCIS from you home. Also what to expect after your case is filed with the USCIS.

“Leaving my home country was something that I had to do. When I arrived, I was unsure of what to do next. Thank you for showing me the steps to take.“

Mahdi J.
TEHRAN, IRAN

Our online software makes it so easy to complete your immigration paperwork

Our online software makes it so easy to complete your immigration paperwork

General instruction by USCIS

When entering the U.S. at the border or at an airport and denied entry by the U.S. officials, you can tell them that you are afraid of returning to your home country and then ask to apply for asylum. It is recommended, however, that you do not tell about your intent to file for asylum if you are using a valid visa or entry document and the immigration official is allowing you to enter the U.S. Once you state that you want to apply for asylum, things will move quite quickly. First, you may be placed in a detention facility where you wait for a “credible fear” hearing with a USCIS asylum officer. Typically, it takes a day or two to have this hearing. At this hearing the officer has no power to grant you asylum. He/she will conduct an interview in order to determine if your fear is real and that you genuinely are afraid of persecution in your home country. If the officer does believe your fear, then he will recommend that a judge hears your case. The officer does, however, have the power deny your request for asylum and can send you back to your home country with no chance of an appeal.

Applying on the US territory

If you are granted admission into the United States, you have up to a year to apply for asylum. There are some exceptions where USCIS may still accept your application if you file it later.

There are several steps to applying for asylum.  First, you must complete the Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal.  This form must be sent to USCIS with a copy of all the pages of your passport, two passport size photos, and all supporting documents.  A detailed affidavit containing specific facts, as well as documentation to back up these claims, should be included to explain why you should be granted asylum.  Personal documents including: newspaper articles about your arrest, group membership card (if your claim for asylum is based on membership in a group), or medical records if you have ever been beaten or tortured for the same reason you are requesting asylum.  At minimum, if you do not have these personal documents to support your case, you should provide information on the situation in the country from which you are fleeing, which supports the claims in your affidavit.  After USCIS receives your application, you will be sent a notice for a biometrics appointment where you will have your fingerprints taken.  Following that appointment, you will be called for an interview at an USCIS asylum office.  You may bring an interpreter to this interview if you do not speak English.

Frequently Asked Questions

After I am granted asylum, how long should I wait until I can become a U.S. citizen?

Before becoming a U.S. citizen, you must first become a permanent resident. After one year of being granted asylum, you may file a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. A separate application and supporting documents must be provided for you and for any family members who received derivative asylum based on your case. Once your application has been approved, you must maintain permanent resident status for five years before applying for U.S. citizenship.

Can I bring my family to the U.S. if I am granted asylum?

Yes. When you first apply for asylum, you may also petition for your spouse and any children who are under the age of 21 and are unmarried. Please note that you may only petition for family members where the relationship existed before you were granted Asylum. In cases of newborn children, that child had to be conceived or born before you entered the U.S. as a refugee or was granted asylum. Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, will have to be filed by your eligible family member.

What are the exceptions to applying for asylum if I entered the U.S. over a year ago?

The first exception is for changed circumstances.  If you have missed the one-year deadline and can demonstrate “the existence of changed circumstances which materially affect” your eligibility for asylum, then you may still be able to apply for asylum.  You would need to show that something has changed since the time of your last arrival in the U.S that placed you in fear of returning back to your home country. Applications submitted under this exception must be made within a reasonable period. A reasonable period of time may be determined by taking into account whether you had a delayed awareness of the occurrence of changed circumstances.

Situations that constitute changed circumstances are as follows:

  • Change in condition of your country of nationality, or if you are stateless then the country of your last habitual residence; or
  • Material change in your circumstances that affect your eligibility for asylum, including changes in applicable U.S. law and activities that you become involved in outside the country of feared persecutions that placed you at risk; or
  • If you were previously included as a dependent in another applicant’s pending asylum application, the loss of the spousal or parent-child relationship to the principal applicant through marriage, divorce, death, or turning 21 years old.

There are specific categories of changes that warrant an exception to the one-year filing requirement and are as follows:

  • Change in Country Conditions. If a country changes it’s laws, such as the criminalization of same-sex sexual activity or change in policy where the government will enforce anti-sodomy laws to be enforced, then a member of the LGBT community may now be eligible for asylum.  Furthermore, a change in government to a repressive homophobic regime, may also warrant an exception.  To obtain this exception, you must show that this change in country conditions has a particular impact on your individual case.
  • Change in Applicant’s Circumstances. Certain circumstances may materially affect your eligibility for asylum based on sexual orientation.  Such circumstances may include: coming out as a gay man or lesbian, becoming active in the LGBT community, or a diagnosis of HIV.  Winning an asylum application solely on HIV-positive status is difficult, however, cases are more successful when based on both sexual orientation and HIV-positive status.  You may qualify for an exception if there is severe discrimination or persecution of those with HIV in your native country if you have recently been diagnosed as HIV-positive.  Transgender people in the process of transitioning may qualify for a changed circumstances exception where: he/she has taken medical steps to transition including hormone therapy, electrolysis, or sex reassignment surgery, where you believe it will increase the risk of persecution in your home country.
  • Extraordinary Circumstances. Extraordinary circumstances refer to “events or factors directly related to the failure to meet the one-year deadline.”  This means that you must demonstrate that something prevented you from filing up until now and these circumstances were not created through your own action or inaction.  When reviewing your application, the asylum adjudicator will analyze the individual facts of your case to determine if extraordinary circumstances exist.  You will need to establish the following three requirements:
  1. Demonstrate the existence or occurrence of the extraordinary circumstances;
  2. Show that the circumstances directly relate to the failure to file an application within the one-year period; and
  3. Demonstrate the delay in filing was reasonable under the circumstances.

Below are some examples of extraordinary circumstances:

  1. Serious Illness or mental or physical disability, including an effects of persecution or violent harm suffered in the past during the one-year period after arrival; or
  2. Legal disability during the one-year period after arrival (i.e. you are an unaccompanied minor or suffer from a mental disability);
  3. Ineffective assistance of counsel;
  4. You have maintained Temporary Protected Status (TPS), lawful immigrant or nonimmigrant status, or were given parole, until a reasonable period before filing the asylum application; or
  5. You filed an asylum application within one year of your arrival, but that application was rejected by USCIS as not properly filed, was returned to you for corrections, and was re-filed within a reasonable time after; or
  6. Your legal representative or a member of your immediate family dies or suffers a serious illness or incapacity.
  • Serious Mental Illness or Mental/Physical Disability. If you suffer from a serious illness or mental or physical disability during the one-year period, you will be excused for an untimely filing.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been recognized by one circuit court as an extraordinary circumstance.  LGBT applicants in particular may suffer from PTSD or other forms of physical or mental trauma as a result of persecution in their native countries.  Furthermore, if the country has greatly stigmatized homosexuality, those applicants may have trouble accepting their own sexual orientation, which may lead to depression.

This exception is greatly overused and for this reason, applicants must use testimony of psychiatrists or therapists to demonstrate that you suffer from PTSD, depression, or another serious illness or disability.  If you have an ongoing relationship with the medical health professional, then the testimony will be considered more credible then just one evaluation for the application.

Many applicants settle in communities mainly populated by people from his/her native country where LGBT applicants may be ostracized.  For that reason, these particular applicants, as well as those or are HIV-positive, may have difficulty discussing their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV-positive status.  As such, these pressures may not constitute a mental disability specifically, however, the Asylum Officer’s Manual states that severe family or spousal opposition, extreme isolation within a refugee community, profound language barriers, or profound difficulties in cultural acclimatization may also constitute extraordinary circumstances.

Those who are HIV-positive will find the disability category to be particularly relevant.  Severe illness or severe depression resulting from being diagnosed with HIV may keep an applicant from being able to apply for asylum within one year of arriving in the U.S.

  • Legal Disability. Legal disability may excuse unaccompanied minors from failing to meet the one-year filing deadline so long as the legal disability occurred during the one-year period.  This argument could potentially extend to accompanied minors, specifically those that are LGBT who may have been afraid to inform their families of the sexual orientation and cannot reasonably pursue their asylum claims until after leaving their families.  An “unaccompanied minor” for purposes of the one-year deadline is a child under the age of 18 in the U.S. without a parent or legal guardian.
  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel. If you intend to pursue an exception for ineffective counsel, you must satisfy three requirements:
  1. Affidavit testifying the details of the agreement with the attorney must be filed;
  2. The attorney must be informed of the complaint and given an opportunity to respond; and
  3. A complaint must be filed or you must explain why you have not filed a complaint with the relevant authorities.

The asylum adjudication must determine only whether these three requirements were met and evaluate whether the counsel’s actions or inactions were related to the delay in filing.

A viable claim for ineffective assistance of counsel can be shown if you met with an attorney before the filing deadline and the attorney never informed you of the different grounds on which you may claim asylum including: sexual orientation, gender identity, of HIV status.  This claim would be difficult if the applicant never raised these issues on his own.  A more successful claim would be if an attorney filed an application within one year, but it was not properly prepared and lacked sufficient documentation to support the claims.  Also, failure to advise an applicant of the one-year deadline when assistance is sought, may also be a successful claim for ineffective counsel.

  • Maintenance of Lawful Status. If you file for asylum within a reasonable period after your TPS or lawful immigrant or nonimmigrant status ends, you may be eligible for an exception.  The facts surrounding your case will be used to determine whether your application was filed within a reasonable period of time.  Waiting six months after the lawful status ended until filing for asylum was found to be unreasonable by the Department of Justice.  LGBT applicants who “come out” while studying in the U.S. and applicants who learn they are HIV-positive while working or studying here benefit greatly from this exception.  LGBT students may be forced to file for asylum upon informing their families of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV-status if their parents stop paying for school.
  • Improperly Filed Application Within One-Year Period. If you file your application within the one-year filing deadline, but it was rejected, returned for corrections, and re-filed within a reasonable period of time, you are eligible for this exception.
  • Death or Serious Illness of Legal Representative or Family Member. To determine if this exception applies, the asylum adjudicator will consider “the degree of interaction between family members, as well as the blood relationship between the applicant and the family member.” Given the recent repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex partners are also recognized for the purposes of this exception.
  • Other Circumstances. Asylum officers may also consider other circumstances such as:
  1. Severe family or spousal opposition;
  2. Extreme isolation within a refugee community;
  3. Profound language barriers; or
  4. Profound difficulties in cultural acclimatization.

Particularly for those within the LGBT community who are afraid of how their communities and families will react to their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV-positive status, this exception is relevant.  These applicants may be afraid to seek medical assistance or therapy in their own communities due to fear and are unable to seek such assistance outside of the community due to language barriers.  Lack of awareness generally is not considered an exception to the one-year filing rule, however, it may be justified in situations involving isolation within a refugee community, community and family stigmatization of homosexuality and fear of discussing such personal issues because of past physical trauma.

I entered the United States over a year ago, can I still apply for asylum?

Yes. You may apply after one year of arrival if the delay of filing of your asylum application was caused by a change of circumstances. The circumstances that prevented you from the timely filing must be either extraordinary in nature or must have triggered a change in your country’s condition to the worse. If true, you still have file the asylum application within a reasonable period of time after you’ve found out about the change.

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