There are two general types of asylum in the U.S. You may seek affirmative or defensive asylum, but it depends on the circumstances of your situation.
They both can seek similar results, but the process differs. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, seeking asylum through either process is only for individuals who face persecution or other danger if they return to their home country.
Affirmative asylum process
In the affirmative process, you are in the U.S. and not facing any type of removal threats. You will submit Form I-589 to the USCIS. You will go before an asylum officer to state your case. This is an informal process not involving a court or judge. If you need an interpreter, you must provide it yourself. The officer will then review your case, and let you know the outcome.
Defensive asylum process
In the defensive process, you are under removal proceedings. You will either submit your asylum paperwork to the judge in your removal proceedings or if you already filed, the judge will receive those documents as part of your case. The court will hold a hearing to review your application. Since you are in the court system, the court holds the responsibility to provide an interpreter. The court will make a ruling in your asylum case.
Your circumstance will influence which type of asylum process you go through. Ideally, affirmative asylum is much easier on you because there are no removal issues at hand. However, if you do face removal, you must ensure the court is aware of your desire to seek asylum so it can receive the proper paperwork and consider your situation when making a ruling.