In the complex world of immigration law, questions often arise about asylum eligibility and the application process. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers:
1. Who Is Eligible to Apply for Asylum?
Asylum is available to individuals who fear persecution in their home country based on factors such as race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. You can apply for asylum regardless of your current immigration status if you are not in removal proceedings and file your asylum application within one year of arriving in the United States, or if you qualify for an exception to this one-year rule.
2. How Do I Apply for Asylum?
To apply for asylum, you need to submit Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form requires you to provide detailed information about your asylum claim, including your personal background and the reasons for seeking asylum. After filing the application, USCIS will schedule an asylum interview to evaluate your case.
3. Can I Still Apply for Asylum Even if I Am in the United States Illegally?
Yes, you can apply for asylum regardless of your immigration status as long as you meet the eligibility criteria mentioned earlier. If you are in the United States unlawfully, it’s essential to disclose your immigration history and any criminal background during the asylum application process.
4. Can I Apply for Asylum Even if I Was Convicted of a Crime?
Yes, you can apply for asylum even if you have a criminal record. However, the type of crime and its severity may affect your eligibility for asylum. Disclose your criminal history on Form I-589 and during your asylum interview. Failing to do so can lead to your asylum claim being referred to immigration court and potential penalties for perjury.
5. How Can I Obtain Asylum Benefits for My Spouse and Children?
You can include your spouse and eligible children on your Form I-589, regardless of various factors such as their age, marital status, or location. If you are granted asylum status, your family members listed on your application will also be granted asylum (unless they are ineligible) and can remain in the United States. If your family members are outside the U.S. at the time of your asylum approval, you can file a Form I-730, Refugee and Asylee Relative Petition, to help them obtain derivative asylum status.
6. When Will I Need to Be Fingerprinted?
Fingerprinting is typically part of the asylum application process, and you will be scheduled for fingerprinting before your asylum interview. This step is crucial for background checks and security purposes.
7. Will I Be Required to Undergo Any Other Criminal or Security Checks?
Yes, applicants for asylum are subject to various security and background checks to ensure national security. These checks are conducted as part of the standard asylum process.
8. What Happens if My Child Turns 21 Years Old After I Have Filed My Asylum Application?
If your child turns 21 after you have submitted your asylum application and while it is still pending, they can continue to be included as a dependent on your application. This allows them to maintain eligibility for derivative asylum status.
Our experienced immigration team at Jeelani Law Firm is here to provide guidance and support on your journey to seeking asylum and refuge in the United States. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our legal team!