Asylum Attorney Advice: Who Qualifies for Asylum in the U.S.
If you want to apply for asylum in the U.S. you must have a clear understanding of the process, what to expect, and most importantly, who qualifies for asylum in the U.S.
This is because not everyone can apply and you must meet one of the grounds for asylum, and be able to show that you face a real threat of persecution. This is something an asylum attorney can guide you through, but to get you started we explain the eligibility criterion and a wealth of other useful info below.
A Simple Introduction to U.S. Asylum
The purpose of asylum is to provide sanctuary for those fleeing from or under the threat of persecution in their home country. This is a global process with most countries offering some type of asylum. In the U.S., you have to be present or at an entry port to apply for asylum and you must meet one of the grounds for asylum which we outline below.
Eligibility Criteria – Who Can Apply for Asylum in the U.S.
With a simple understanding of the U.S. asylum, we can look at eligibility and who can apply for asylum. The first step is the different grounds for asylum, the second step is then demonstrating you face persecution because of the grounds, and we can then look at some special cases and considerations.
1. Falling under a category of the “grounds for asylum”
The U.S. immigration law has five clear grounds that you must fall under to be able to file an application. These include:
- Membership in a particular social group
- Political opinion
To reiterate – you must be able to demonstrate that you are either facing persecution or have a threat of persecution because of your link to one of these five grounds.
For example, perhaps you are part of a specific race of people who face persecution from the dominant race of people within your home country. Or maybe nationals of a particular country living in another country are facing persecution due to strained government relationships with your home nationality.
A U.S. asylum immigration lawyer can help ascertain your grounds and assess your eligibility based on the evidence you give them.
2. Demonstration of a well-founded fear of persecution
It’s not merely enough to belong to that particular group – you must be able to show that you and your dependents have a well-founded fear or threat of persecution because of your link to that group.
For example, you can’t simply apply for asylum because you are a Muslim in a Christian country. However, you may be able to claim if you are a Muslim in a country where the Christian government and/or population actively persecutes Muslims.
Creating this link between the grounds and the persecution you face is an essential part of the asylum application process and this is again, something a political asylum lawyer can assist with.
3. Special cases and considerations
Aside from the five listed grounds, there are also some special considerations where an asylum application may be possible including:
- Gender-based persecution.
- Sexuality-based persecution for LGBTQ+ individuals.
- Human trafficking.
- Fleeing from gang violence.
In situations like these, the eligibility is usually taken on a case-by-case basis and it’s advised to set up an initial consultation meeting with an asylum attorney to see if your case is credible.
Important Information and Tips for Your Asylum Application
Now that you have a clear understanding of who qualifies for asylum in the U.S., we can delve deeper into the subject and look at other important information you must be aware of. This includes the importance of legal assistance, evidence to support your claim, and common mistakes to avoid.
Seeking legal assistance from an asylum attorney
If you want your application to run smoothly and have the best possible chance of acceptance, working with an immigration asylum attorney is the logical step. These individuals are qualified in U.S. law and have extensive knowledge of the process.
They can coach and guide you through the process including help with completing the I-589 form, attending the asylum interview with you, and helping you to prepare evidence and create a strong case. This service is of course paid, but the expense is worth it and can save you much time and effort in failed applications.
Providing evidence to strengthen your claim
As mentioned above, simply falling under one of the grounds categories isn’t enough and you must be able to prove that you have a well-founded fear or threat of persecution. This involves providing supporting evidence to strengthen your claim and examples of evidence include:
- Newspaper articles.
- SMS, Whatsapp messages, emails.
- Testimonials from friends and family.
- Declarations from medical professionals.
- Declarations from mental health professionals.
- Identity documents.
Photos and newspaper articles could show proof of the persecution in your country, while digital messages may show proof of threats and persecution from third-parties.
Having testimonials and declarations from friends, family, and professionals will also strengthen your case, show your character, and show the physical and mental trauma you have suffered.
Avoiding common pitfalls and challenges
Even if you are eligible for U.S. asylum, this doesn’t mean your application will be accepted and there are a range of pitfalls and mistakes that can be made, including:
- Missing the 1-year deadline for filing an asylum application.
- Incorrectly filing your I-589 form.
- Poorly preparing for your interview.
- Not being located in the U.S. when applying.
- Not meeting the eligibility criteria.
- Provide insufficient evidence to support your case.
As you can see, this is not a process that should be taken lightly. If you are serious about your asylum you must be willing to prepare thoroughly and double-check everything you do. Additionally, working with an asylum attorney can help prevent these potential mistakes from happening and allow you to navigate any challenges with confidence.
Understanding Who Qualifies for Asylum is the First Step Toward a Succesful Application
As you can see, establishing your eligibility for asylum in the U.S. is paramount and it’s the first thing you must do before considering application. An asylum attorney in the U.S. can provide an initial consultation where they will assess your suitability and discuss if you have a credible case. From there, they can guide you through the next steps including the application, and the interview.