When conditions in your home country pose a threat to security and well-being, you may apply for asylum in the U.S. This allows people to expedite the typical immigration process to ensure they receive the necessary protection.
It is important that you understand what to expect from the process, which ensures you can navigate it effectively. Here are a few key points to consider.
Who is eligible to apply?
Asylum seekers can apply upon reaching any port of entry in the U.S. You must file an application within one year of arriving in this country. If you wait longer than one year, you must show that you qualify for an exception. Exceptions include changes to your circumstances, such as serious illness or changes to the immigration laws in this country. Ineffective legal counsel also counts as an exception to the one-year rule.
Does a criminal conviction affect eligibility?
It is possible to gain asylum in this country with a criminal conviction on record. However, it depends on the nature and severity of the crime. It is important that you disclose any criminal convictions on record when submitting an application for asylum and during your subsequent interview. If you fail to provide this information, you could face legal penalties.
How do you apply for asylum?
Regardless of whether you are applying for asylum after arriving in the U.S. or as a defense against the removal process, you must submit Form I-589. You must then provide the form to the local immigration office that has jurisdiction over your case.
After applying, you can check your status by sending written correspondence or by visiting your local immigration office. If you send a written inquiry, include your legal name, date of birth, and your A-number. If you underwent an asylum interview, also include the date and time of that interview.