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About Asylum

Asylum is the legal protection granted to people in the United States who are afraid to return to their home country. Asylum can be granted to people who are currently in the United States and who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

People who are granted asylum are allowed to live and work in the United States, file for their spouse and minor children to come to the United States, apply for permanent residence and eventually citizenship, and travel outside the United States.

An asylum application is made once someone is in the United States. The law says the application should be made within one year of entering the country, but there are some exceptions to this deadline. An individual can apply for asylum by filling out an application and submitting it to Citizenship and Immigration Services. If a person is in removal proceedings and has a hearing in front of an immigration judge, he or she can also make an asylum application in court. A decision denying asylum can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals and the various Circuit Courts of Appeal. The Advocates provides assistance to people at all stages of the asylum process, from those who have not applied to individuals needing help with an appeal.

To learn more about asylum in the United States, go to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.