Yes, asylum seekers can enter the United States, but they must meet specific requirements. You have to be at a port of entry or have been in the US for less than a year to apply for asylum.
You might seek asylum because you fear persecution or faced persecution in the country where you were previously living. The process can get confusing. However, it is essential to understand that there is an opportunity for you to gain safety in the US if you are in danger in another country. An immigration attorney is ready to answer your questions and help you navigate this process.
What Is Asylum?
Asylum is one option for people fleeing one country and trying to enter another. You can seek asylum in the US if you faced persecution or fear that you will face persecution in the country where you were living—whether it’s persecution based on your religion, nationality, or political opinions.
In turn, you are afraid and do not believe that you can safely return to the country where you were living. As long as you meet specific criteria, you can apply for asylum in the US. To be granted asylum in the US, you must go through the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS).
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Who Can Apply for Asylum?
An asylum seeker is a little different from a refugee, but they both seek to enter the US for the same reasons. Per the USCIS, a refugee might still be fleeing their country to escape danger. However, you can apply for refugee status while still outside the US.
To be eligible to apply for asylum, you have to be at a port of entry to the US or have been in the US for less than a year.
What Would Disqualify Me from Asylum?
If you are not at a port of entry into the US or in the US or have been in the US for more than a year, you would not be eligible for asylum. Also, if you had previously applied for asylum and the USCIS denied it, they might not grant you asylum. If there is another country that you can safely go to, you might not be granted asylum in the US.
Finally, the USCIS might not grant you asylum if you were previously convicted of certain crimes. However, a criminal conviction does not automatically disqualify you from getting asylum status.
Sometimes, there are exceptions to these regulations, but understanding these basic rules can help you know if you are eligible to apply for asylum.
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What Are the Benefits of Asylum?
If your request for asylum is approved, you will be able to remain in the US and reap several benefits. You can be safe from the persecution you were fleeing in the country where you used to live.
Once you have been granted asylum, you will be able to work in the US legally and eligible for an unrestricted Social Security card. In addition, you would be able to apply for employment assistance and a refugee travel document.
According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, you may also be able to receive money and other benefits from the following programs:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Health insurance through Medicaid
- Refugee cash assistance: This money can help cover the costs of things like food and shelter.
- Refugee medical assistance: This money could help with medical costs if you don’t qualify for Medicaid.
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What Information Will I Need to Provide to Apply for Asylum?
To apply for asylum, you will need to fill out a particular form called an I-589, also called the Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. Once you complete it, submit it to the USCIS.
On this form, you must provide identification information and explanations of why you’re seeking asylum in the US. You should work to fill out as much of the information as possible. For example, the form will ask you for your alien registration number if you have one, where you currently live, your name, and contact information. Mostly, you will need to explain why you are seeking asylum.
If you have a spouse or children, you will include their information on this form as well, so they can also receive the benefits of asylum.
Begin Your Strategic Session with New Frontier Immigration Law Today
At New Frontier Immigration Law, we help people who want to come to the United States after facing persecution. We can go over your options if you are seeking asylum and review the facts of your case to help determine your eligibility.
Reach out to our law firm today to start your initial strategic session right away.