A Detailed Guide To Applying For Asylum

The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants seeking refuge from persecution. Asylum is a legal protection available to foreign nationals who fear persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.  The process can seem daunting if you believe you qualify for asylum, but Attorney Wogwu at Wogwu Law is here to help.  

Understanding the Basics of Asylum

  • Who Can Apply? Asylum is available to individuals physically present in the United States or arriving at a port of entry. You may also apply for asylum if placed in removal proceedings.
  • What is Persecution? To qualify for asylum, you must demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution in your home country. Persecution refers to threats to your life or freedom or harm so severe that it would rise to the level of an abuse of human rights. Examples of persecution can include torture, imprisonment, violence, threats, or discrimination based on the five protected grounds mentioned earlier (race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group).

Building Your Case

  • Consulting an Immigration Attorney: The first step is to schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney like Attorney Wogwu. An attorney can assess your situation, determine if you meet the eligibility criteria for asylum, and discuss the legal options available to you.  This is crucial, as immigration law can be complex, and having an attorney guide you through the process can significantly increase your chances of success.  They can also ensure you meet all deadlines and file the necessary paperwork accurately.
  • Preparing a Compelling Affidavit:  The core of your asylum application will be a detailed affidavit, a sworn statement explaining why you fear persecution in your home country.  This affidavit should be a well-organized narrative outlining a timeline of events that led you to seek asylum. Be specific and factual, including details about past persecution you have suffered or the reasons you fear future persecution.
  • Gathering Supporting Evidence:  Evidence is vital to support the claims made in your affidavit. This can include witness statements from individuals who can corroborate your story, police reports documenting past persecution, news articles highlighting human rights abuses in your home country, or documentation from NGOs or human rights organizations. The more evidence you can gather, the stronger your case will be.

The Application Process; Forms, Interviews, and Decisions

  • Filing Form I-589: You will need to file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). There is no filing fee for asylum applications.  An attorney can assist you in completing the form accurately and ensure all necessary documentation is included.
  • Biometric Appointment and Interview: Once USCIS receives your application, you will likely be scheduled for a biometrics appointment to collect your fingerprints and photographs.  Following this, you will be interviewed by a USCIS asylum officer.  This interview is crucial, and your attorney can prepare you for the questions you may be asked and help you present your case effectively.  Practice answering questions clearly and concisely, and be ready to provide details that support your claims.
  • The Asylum Decision: After your interview, USCIS will decide on your asylum application.  There are two possible outcomes:
    • Approval: If your application is approved, you will be granted asylum status and employment authorization. After one year, you may also be eligible to apply for a green card.
    • Denial: If your application is denied, you can appeal the decision to an immigration judge. An attorney can advise you on the appeals process and represent you in immigration court.

Additional Considerations

  • One-Year Filing Deadline: Generally, you must file your asylum application within one year of your last arrival in the United States. There are some exceptions to this deadline, but it’s important to consult with an attorney to determine if they apply to you.
  • Credible Fear Interview: If you are placed in removal proceedings and fear returning to your home country, you can request a credible fear interview. A credible fear interview is a screening process to determine whether you have a credible fear of persecution. If you pass the credible fear interview, you can remain in the United States while your asylum application is pending.

Attorney Wogwu Can Help

The asylum process can be complex and time-consuming.  Attorney Wogwu at Wogwu Law understands asylum seekers’ challenges and is dedicated to helping them go through the legal system.  Attorney Wogwu will tirelessly protect your rights and fight for your chance to live safely in the United States.

If you are considering applying for asylum, contact Wogwu Law today at 919-964-5472 or online to schedule a consultation with a dedicated immigration attorney. Attorney Wogwu serves clients throughout the United States and abroad. Don’t wait until it’s too late. The sooner you seek legal guidance, the better your chance of securing a successful outcome in your asylum case.