Are you interested in learning how to pick the best asylum lawyer in San DiegoWe know it can be difficult choosing the best attorney for your asylum case, especially because you usually only have one chance at asylum and President Trump has made winning asylum more difficult through attempts at changing the asylum laws.

Do I Even Need an Asylum Lawyer to Apply?

The short answer is no.  But winning your asylum case requires much more than merely filling out Form I-589.  Statistically, you are five times more likely to win if you have the best asylum lawyer representing you.  Below are four tips for choosing the best asylum lawyer for you:

  1. Knowledge: Asylum is a specialized area of law, and many immigration lawyers are not fully cognizant of the intricacies of asylum.  When you are searching for the best asylum lawyer, you will want to ensure that the asylum attorney is knowledgeable about the ins and outs of asylum.  For example, there is a common misconception among applicants and immigration attorneys that asylum applications must be filed within one year of the applicant’s last arrival in the United States.  While this is the general rule, like most laws, there are exceptions.  A common exception to the rule is that an applicant need not file within one year so long as the applicant has been in the United States legally since his or her last entry (e.g., Tourist Visa, Student Visa, etc.), and applies for asylum within a reasonable time after the expiration of that status.

  2. Experience: In addition to knowledge, you will want an experienced asylum attorney to represent you.  Experience goes beyond age, and requires that the attorney thoroughly prepare for your case.  Every asylum case is different and unique.  It is important to note that even if you meet the basic requirements for asylum, it does not mean that you will win your asylum case.  An experienced asylum lawyer will help you navigate all potential red flags and obstacles in your specific case.  For example, many asylum applicants come from large countries, such as India.  Because India is so large, many applicants are denied asylum because they can reasonably relocate to another part of the country.  An experienced lawyer will anticipate these “relocation” arguments and convince the adjudicator that relocation is unreasonable.

  3. Persuasion: One of the most important traits you should look for in picking the best asylum attorney is the attorney’s persuasiveness.  Asylum is never guaranteed, and no one is entitled to asylum, even if you meet all the requirements.  Instead, asylum is discretionary, which means that you must convince the adjudicator that you not only qualify for asylum protection, but that you deserve asylum.  A persuasive asylum attorney will help you present a compelling story through a strong and detailed declaration.  Moreover, the best asylum attorneys will draft a persuasive cover letter that demonstrates why you qualify for, and deserve, asylum protection.  A strong cover letter by an asylum attorney can go a long way.

  4. Communication: Believe it or not, one of the biggest complaints we hear about immigration attorneys is a lack of communication.  “My immigration attorney won’t answer the phone”; “My immigration lawyer never calls me back”; “I have not been updated by my immigration attorney since my case was filed.”  These are some of the complaints we hear on a regular basis.  It is crucial that you select an asylum attorney (and any immigration attorney for that matter) who communicates with you.  Winning your asylum case will require you and your asylum lawyer to work very closely together.  Thus, it is extremely important that your asylum lawyer picks up the phone, responds to e-mail, and updates you regularly about your asylum case.

These are just some tips to help you pick the best asylum lawyer for your case.  Remember, while it may be cheaper to apply for asylum without the help of an immigration attorney, your chance of success is much higher when you have a great immigration lawyer representing you.  Our clients have been very happy with our services and the results they obtain.  The initial investment becomes very small in retrospect when they have a green card that allows them to live and work in the United States permanently.

Okay, I get it.  Having an asylum attorney will definitely help me win.  But I still want to apply alone.

Again, we highly recommend hiring a great asylum attorney to represent you, even if you choose an asylum attorney outside of Santos Khoury, LLP.  But if you are planning to apply without an attorney, we have two pieces of advice that will help increase your chances of success in your asylum case.

  • First, the most important thing that you can do is present your story in a way that lets the person deciding your application know what exactly it is you experienced, including why you are afraid to return to your country and why you deserve to remain in the United States.  You should tell your story in an organized declaration signed under penalty of perjury.  A great asylum application provides detailed facts about what happened to you in a persuasive manner, contains compelling facts that appeal to the adjudicator’s emotions, and demonstrates how your facts fit squarely within the law.  If you want to see a sample declaration, we will send you one absolutely free.  Just e-mail our asylum attorneys at

  • Second, you should submit strong concrete evidence in order to have the best asylum application.  Some evidence that we submit on behalf of our clients include, but are not limited to, client and third-party declarations, photographs, reports from government organizations or experts, country conditions, medical reports, news articles, opinions from the United States Courts of Appeals, and other relevant documentation that helps our clients win asylum in United States.  Every case will require different evidence, depending on the facts.  And you do not want to disclose too much information, as it could be used against you.  This is another reason why having an experienced asylum attorney will help you win.

We hope this article will help those of you thinking of applying for asylum.  If you have any questions about the asylum process or specific questions about your case, feel free to reach out to our asylum lawyers.  We offer FREE confidential consultations.


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