Immigration Attorney Tips: What Forms of Humanitarian Protection do You Qualify For?

As a person in need, you may be looking for asylum in the United States. Are you an immigrant facing persecution, discrimination, torture, war or other difficulties in your home country? You may be able to find a haven in the US. But what any specialized immigration attorney will tell you, things are not always easy. Basically, the type of protection offered, and the length of time it lasts will vary based on  different factors. Below are a few categories of people who can quality and a summary of the requirements for obtaining asylum on US territory.

  • TPS or Short-Term Protections for Visitors Whose Countries Face Wars and Disasters

Temporary Protected Status, otherwise known as TPS is a temporary immigration status awarded to people who happen to be in the United States during a period when their home country becomes unsafe for return. You should know that according to US immigration laws, you can only apply for TPS in certain situations. This is basically after your country or region was placed on a special TPS list which is usually updated by the Homeland Security Secretary of State.

So what are the particular situations that can quality?     Generally, TPS-designated countries/areas are deemed so because of an armed conflict, civil war, natural disaster, or environmental disaster.  One thing you should keep in mind is that TPS status does not help people living in the affected countries to come to the United States. You must have already been here, staying with either legal or illegal immigrant status, for a certain period of time in order to qualify.

  • Protection against Persecution

If you are from a country where you have been a victim of persecution, or you have a legitimate fear of being persecuted in case you return to that country, you may decide to seek refugee protection from the U.S.  This can happen in two different ways: if you are currently overseas- and in this case you will be receiving protection, or if you are currently living in the US, and in this case you can ask for asylum. You will require help from an immigration attorney as typically, the criteria for these protections are very strict.

To establish eligibility for asylum or refugee status, you must prove you are either the victim of past persecution or you have a well-founded fear of future persecution. In the case of past persecution, you must prove that you were persecuted in your home country or last country of residence.

The persecution must have been based on: race, religion, political views, nationality or just membership in a particular social group.

  • NACARA 203 Protection

If you are an applicant living in the US for the past 7 years, you may be entitled to a form of relief from deportation or removal called “suspension of deportation”. This is basically applied to certain applicants who fit into special categories based on their country of origin and other criteria, to apply for U.S. residence. Contact an immigration lawyer for more details on this, as laws are very intricate and your particular details are very important in this case.

  • Protection Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

As a woman, you have one more chance to obtain asylum in the US. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), passed in 2005, gives battered spouses the right to self-petition and handle their own immigration applications.

No matter what your general situation is, you may contact a specialized immigration attorney and find out if your particular circumstances allow you to get protected status in the US.

How to Apply for Asylum with Help from an Immigration Attorney

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.