Every year, thousands of people come to America and seek asylum. They are hoping to start a new life here and avoid significant safety risks and persecution triggered by factors such as political opinions, race or religious beliefs.
The US government supports foreign citizens who have legitimate reasons to fear for their safety and welfare. Those who prove they are eligible for asylum may be allowed to stay in the US without separating themselves from their family members. Fortunately, all foreign people have the opportunity to file for asylum, regardless of their origins and of the reasons that brought them to America in the first place.
How do I file for asylum?
People seeking asylum have to file a Form-I589 within 1 year of their arrival in the US. They have to be prepared to face the difficulties of a time and energy-consuming process, as applicants will always have to relive painful memories and state the reasons why they feel vulnerable and threatened in their own country. Applicants can facilitate this process by counting on an experienced immigration attorney hired to support their cause.
An experienced lawyer can show you how to fill out the form and write a detailed affidavit. You may be advised to add documents highlighting the fact that your life is on the line in your own country (medical records indicating any form of physical abuse, for instance). As soon as you complete this phase, you will be scheduled for an interview at the USCIS offices. Your immigration attorney will prep you for this meeting and will assist you during the interview.
What happens if my petition is denied?
If the USCIS officials reject your petition, you will have to appear in front of the immigration court with the required documentation. In case you fail to attain your goal, you can still appeal and take your case all the way to the Supreme Court. On the other hand, if you are granted asylum, keep in mind that you will have to apply for permanent residency within one year from the court’s ruling.
How and when do I apply for a work permit?
A new life in the US might be the perfect solution for you and your family, enabling you to avoid considerable risks. However, you will still have to earn a living and cope with daily expenses. Any immigration attorney will tell you that you can’t apply for asylum and for a work permit at the same time. The good news is that you can start looking for a job as soon as you are granted asylum. Some refugees choose to obtain their Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) despite the fact that asylees don’t need EAD’s in order to be able to work legally in the US.
How can I bring my family to the United States?
Once you attain your goal and you are granted asylum, you can reunite your family by bringing your spouse and children to the US. In this case, petitioners have to fill a form I-730 (Refugee Relative Petition). You have to start this process within 2 years after you are being granted asylum, otherwise it might be more difficult to succeed. If you want to help your children start a new life with you in the United States you should know that they have to be under 21 and unmarried to be included in your petition.