Asylum is a form of protection that may be granted to people who have been persecuted or fear persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or identification with a certain political opinion.

People who meet these qualifications may apply for asylum if they are already in the United States or seeking admission at a port of entry, regardless of their country of origin or immigration status.

If your spouse and children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) are in the United States as well, they may be included on your application for asylum at any point from the time of filing up until a final decision is made.

There are two types of asylum processes: affirmative and defensive asylum.

Affirmative Asylum

Affirmative asylum is the standard process in which an individual (not in removal proceedings) files an asylum application with USCIS. They will go through the application process and appear for their interview, providing an interpreter if needed. Regardless of how you arrived in the country and what your current immigration status is, you may still apply for asylum.

To apply for affirmative asylum in the United States, you must:

  • Already be physically present in the U.S.
  • File within one year of arrival in the U.S.
  • Have not previously applied for and been denied asylum status

Defensive Asylum

Defensive asylum is the process in which an individual has been placed in removal proceedings and requests asylum as a defense to removal. The removal proceedings must be taking place in an immigration court with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).

Individuals are generally placed into defensive asylum processing as a result of their circumstances, as opposed to choosing to file an asylum application as a part of affirmative asylum.

Usually, individuals are placed into this defensive asylum processing as a result of one of two scenarios:

  • They went through the affirmative asylum process with USCIS, were denied, and were referred to an Immigration Judge
  • They were in removal proceedings because:
    • They were found to be in the United States without proper documentation or they were caught violating their immigration status.
    • They were caught attempting to enter the country without the proper documentation and were found to have credible fear or threat of persecution once they were in the expedited removal process.

It is through this process that it is determined whether or not these individuals are eligible for asylum.

Work Authorization

If you are granted asylum, you are automatically permitted to work. You do not need Employment Authorization Documents in order to work, though some people still choose to obtain an EAD for the sake of identification or convenience.

You may not apply for employment authorization at the same time as you file your asylum application. However, if it has been 150 days since you filed your application for asylum and no decision has yet been made, you may apply for permission to work.

How We Can Help

Youngblood & Associates can help you with filing your asylum application, the steps following filing, representation at your asylum interview, and any questions you have along the way. If you are placed into defensive asylum processing, our legal team will represent you and work diligently to prove your case in immigration court.

Not sure what you need?

Call our office today at 931-274-7811 to schedule your consultation or complete a service inquiry form to get your process started today.

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