Application for Asylum: Types of Asylum


If you are seeking sanctuary in the U.S. you must be aware of the different types of asylum, as there isn’t just one blanket type that applies to everyone. In the U.S., this process is split into a range of categories, and it’s vital you understand each one, how it works, and what it means so that you can complete the appropriate Application for Asylum.

Application for Asylum

Application For Asylum
Application for Asylum

Affirmative Asylum


Affirmative asylum is the most common type in the U.S., and it applies to anyone who is not in removal proceedings. You can file an application for asylum with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services division with the I-589 form.


To be eligible for this type of sanctuary, you must be able to demonstrate that you face persecution based on one of these grounds:


  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Political opinion.


After the application is filed, you must then attend an asylum interview where you are asked questions and get to present your case and evidence to a USCIS officer. A decision is then made. If successful, you may be granted a range of benefits, including federal mainstream benefits, SSI, health insurance, and food assistance.

Defensive Asylum


If you are facing removal proceedings due to a failed application or other issue, you can file for defensive asylum with a judge at the EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review). The same I-589 form is used for your defensive application, and an asylum lawyer can help you complete it.


Initially, you must attend a Master Calendar Hearing where a judge asks if the deportation charges are true. You may also be asked if you are afraid to return to your home country and other questions to gauge your eligibility to stay in the U.S.


A second merit hearing is then conducted, where you get to explain your case, and at the end of this hearing a decision is typically made. If your application is denied, the case can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Withholding of Removal


If you, unfortunately, don’t qualify for asylum in the U.S., there are other options – mainly the withholding of removal process. If you qualify for withholding of removal, you cannot obtain a green card but can legally stay and work in the United States.


This process involves demonstrating that if you return to your home country, you will be subject to persecution because of your nationality, race, religion, political position, or membership in a social group (essentially the same criteria as affirmative asylum).


Compared to the affirmative Application for Asylum, the standard is much higher, and you must be able to show that there is a 50% or more chance that you face persecution when returning to your home country.

Defensive Asylum
defensive asylum

Convention Against Tortue (CAT) Protection

defensive asylum

The U.S. offers CAT relief if you face torture when returning to your home country. To qualify for this type of relief, you must be able to prove that you are likely to be tortured either by the government or with the acquiescence of the government (this means they have knowledge of your torture but won’t act to prevent it).


You must understand that CAT doesn’t give you a lawful immigration status or permanent residency in the U.S. It is primarily used as a means to stop deportation. In some instances, CAT relief means that you can be deported to a different country other than your home nation, where you face torture.


Alternatively, those granted CAT relief can also apply for a work permit and legally live in the U.S. as a non-citizen. 


Asylum for Derivative Beneficiaries


We understand that often times asylum seekers may have family that they wish to bring with them, and for this to happen, they have to be counted as derivative beneficiaries during the application for asylum process.


People who can count as derivative beneficiaries include your legal spouse and children (this doesn’t include your common-law spouse or children over the age of 21). 


In most instances, to qualify for asylum, your spouse and/or children must be added as derivative beneficiaries during the application for asylum process and before any interview takes place.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)


The TPS is essentially a protective means to help those who find it unsafe or difficult to return to their home country while staying in the U.S. To apply for Temporary Protected Status, you must apply with the USCIS, and a successful application grants you protection from deportation and temporary work authorization.


TPS is only applicable to people from countries designated for TPS by the U.S. government, and you can find a full list on the AIC website. TPS doesn’t grant you citizenship and is different from affirmative asylum. However, if you are eligible for any other type of asylum, you can still apply for it while having a Temporary Protected Status.



Asylum for Unaccompanied Minors


If you are an unaccompanied minor seeking asylum, you can file an application for asylum with the USCIS in the same manner that an adult would with the following additional notes:


  • You can still file an application for asylum after spending a year in the U.S.
  • You may be able to apply for the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.
  • Help can be obtained from KIND offices (Kids in Need of Defense).


We understand that completing an application and navigating this process can be incredibly difficult as a child, so the best course of action is to seek legal counsel from an asylum lawyer and speak to a guardian if you have one.

asylum immigration lawyer

Asylum Immigration Lawyer
asylum immigration lawyer

Gender-Based Application for Asylum

Currently, there are no specific grounds for asylum based on gender alone, although there have been many calls for a separate gender category to be included in the eligibility for asylum in the U.S. 

Oftentimes, if you are under threat of persecution because of your gender, your eligibility criteria would fall under the “membership in a particular social group” grounds, but this would be treated on a case-by-case basis. There usually has to be some other underlying reason or threat of persecution – not simply because you are a man or woman.

Be Clear on the Different Types of Asylum and why you need Asylum lawyer


You should now have a clear idea of the different types of asylum granted in the U.S. for your application. With this knowledge, you can start the proceedings and move towards a brighter, more secure future. 


If you want additional assistance, guidance, and coaching through one of the processes, contacting an asylum immigration lawyer is the best course of action, and we can provide the legal counsel and aid you need to gain sanctuary.


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