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Why You Need an Asylum Immigration Lawyer in the US?

asylum immigration lawyer
asylum immigration lawyer

We understand that as an asylum seeker, you have a lot to think about and try to organize. This period of your life can be difficult, stressful, and trialing, but you always have to think about the end goal – a sanctuary in the US and the life-changing benefits this can provide.


Because of the difficulties, the extra workload, and the complexities of the US immigration system, many applicants need a helping hand and guidance. This is where the services of an asylum immigration lawyer can be game-changing.


But why is this so? Surely, you can save the expense and complete your application, interview, and hearings alone? Potentially yes, but as we discuss below, the benefits of qualified legal counsel far outweigh the cost. You gain specialized advice, the experience of someone who deals regularly with the US immigration system, and a tailored strategy that can boost your chances of success.

Understanding Asylum in the US

Before we look at the benefits of legal counsel, it’s important to break down asylum, what it is, who is eligible, and how the process works. This gives you an overview of what to expect and helps you understand how a lawyer can help you through this multi-stage process.

Definition of Asylum

What is asylum? A clear definition was agreed upon in the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, which the US was a key member of:


“A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country, or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”


The key points here are the well-founded fear of persecution and the five grounds that persecution is based on. Also, it’s important to note that asylum status and refugee status are two different things with a slightly different process – your lawyer can help you understand which category you fit in.

Eligibility Criteria for Asylum Seekers

Before you complete Form I-589, you must be clear that you are eligible to obtain asylum status. The process is governed by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), and they outline the eligibility criteria, which state:


You must be physically located in the US at a port of entry or within US territory. Next, you must have a founded fear of or have faced persecution based on one or more of the following five grounds:


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


The key part of this is being able to provide evidence to support your case. The US generally won’t just accept an application that states the person fears persecution – they want to see evidence and see that you have a compelling case. Your attorney can advise in this area and explain the different types of supporting documents you can use, such as testimonials, newspaper articles, and medical reports.

best asylum lawyer in USA
best asylum lawyer in USA

Process of Seeking Asylum in the United States

With a firm grasp of the definition and eligibility of asylum, a picture in your mind should be forming of how an attorney can help. The benefits are further seen when we delve into the actual process, and we have listed the main steps below:


  1. Location: Firstly, you have to be located in the US at a port of entry or on US territory to apply for asylum. This should be your priority if you are not already in the US.
  2. Application: Once you are in the US, you have to complete Form I-589 – The Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. This is the starting point, and together with the following interview, it’s the most important part of the process. In this form, you have to give personal details, details about your family, and information about your asylum case. It’s also vital to submit the relevant documents and any evidence you have.
  3. Biometrics: After successful form filing you may have a biometrics appointment scheduled. If organized, this is mandatory – make sure you attend it. During this meeting, your fingerprints, photographs, and personal details are taken. The USCIS often uses this info to perform background checks.
  4. Interview: Next comes the asylum interview and this is another hugely important milestone. This interview is conducted by a USCIS officer, and during the meeting, the office will quiz you on your story and background to assess the validity of your claims. Your lawyer can be present during this interview. While waiting for asylum interview date, your lawyer can help prepare you and explain what to expect so you can go into the meeting with confidence.
  5. Decision: Approximately 180 days after submitting your application, the USCIS will make a decision and your case for asylum is either approved or denied.
  6. Appeal: If denied, you can appeal with the Immigration Courts and Board of Immigration Appeals.
  7. Green Card: If successful, after a year under asylum status, you can then apply for a status change and Legal Permanent Resident status – your Green Card.


Complexities of Asylum Law

Asylum law in the US is complex, and this is another reason why legal counsel is beneficial. You have to complete specific forms, those forms are typically long and testing, and there isn’t one address to file them too.


Not only that, but you may have to deal with multiple departments such as the USCIS, Immigration Courts, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Finding these different contact details and locations can be difficult at the best of times despite the resources the government provides.


Simply put, the immigration process can be mind-boggling, and a lawyer helps cut through the waffle and allows you to understand the process and navigate it with ease.


Benefits of Hiring an Asylum Immigration Lawyer

You should already start to see the need for legal counsel due to the complexity of the US immigration system, but the specific benefits of an asylum lawyer near me may still not be clear. To enlighten you, we have listed the main benefits below.

An asylum attorney has a specialized skillset


The main benefit is that you are getting specialized skills and legal knowledge. Your legal representative will have gained qualifications in US and global laws, but they will also have specialized qualifications, experience, and knowledge of the US immigration system.


They understand the asylum process from start to finish, know the potential barriers and problems, and have insights that generic legal representatives may not know about.

They can also guide you through the entire process


As you can see from the above, the asylum process is lengthy and includes multiple steps. This can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to keep track of what you have to do and when you have to do it.


An experienced legal representative isn’t just there for part of the process. Instead, they can offer their services from start to finish. If you are unsure of anything, they can be there to help. This includes assessing your initial eligibility, planning an effective asylum strategy, completing forms, interview preparation, and legal guidance.

asylum lawyer near me
asylum lawyer near me

The best asylum lawyer can also help with form completion


From experience, we find that one area that many applicants struggle with is the form completion such as Form I-589. These forms are long and complex and contain a heap of information. Moreover, if you are not a native English speaker or writer, understanding the forms and writing credible responses can be a real challenge.


Your asylum immigration lawyer can assist with form completion. They can go through the individual sections and questions with you so that you understand everything. Additionally, they can make sure you complete the forms perfectly and make sure as much info is included as possible to strengthen your case.

They will also help you build a strong case


To be a successful application, you have to build a strong case that clearly shows you have a founded fear of or have suffered persecution. The stronger your case, the quicker the process, and the higher chances you have of approval.


The best asylum lawyer in USA understands this and knows what it takes to create that strong case. They can advise on what supporting documents and evidence you should provide and provide guidance and training for the asylum interview.


Asylum Lawyers can also be your representative in interviews and hearings


Not only can your lawyer help you prepare for interviews and hearings by explaining what to expect, how to behave, and what to bring, but they can also be physically present at these appointments. 


This includes your initial asylum interview and any immigration court hearings and appeal hearings. Having a legal representative during these appointments is a huge confidence booster and they can also jump in when needed, such as difficult questions or asking the USCIS officers or judges for clarity on things you may not understand.

Navigating the Asylum Process with a Lawyer

So, what does an asylum attorney do? We have listed the main steps in chronological order below:


  • Initial consultation: It starts with an initial consultation to assess your eligibility and learn about your plea for sanctuary to make sure you have a valid case.
  • Preparation of evidence: With your case determined, the attorney will aid with your application preparation, including helping you gather evidence to support your case.
  • Completing forms: Once you have a solid case, the lawyer will help you complete Form I-589, pay the fees, and submit it to the correct department.
  • Interview preparation: They will then prepare you for your asylum interview, including telling you how to behave and conduct yourself and the potential questions that may be asked.
  • Attending interviews: Your lawyer can also accompany you to the asylum interview.
  • Helping with appeals: If denied, they will advise on the next course of action and help you through the appeals process.
asylum attorney
asylum attorney

Common Misconceptions About Asylum Lawyers

We are sure that you’ve probably heard plenty of negative talk about asylum lawyers and their uses. Indeed, this seems to be a hot topic, and we want to set things straight. The following are three of the most common misconceptions about asylum lawyers:


  1. They only want your cash: Sure, money is important – but this isn’t a trait limited to lawyers, who don’t want to get paid for their work? Yes, there is usually a fee for legal counsel, but many asylum lawyers offer a pro bono service, financial aid, or low-cost services aimed at those who have financial problems – it’s not just about the money, but also making a difference and giving people the help they deserve.
  2. Their help isn’t needed: Many people believe they can navigate the asylum process on their own without help, and indeed, there are plenty of cases where this is true. Legal counsel isn’t for everyone, and some people with a legal background or the ability to research can navigate the immigration process on their own. However, in contrast, most people will find the asylum process difficult to understand, and there are often language barriers or a lack of writing skills or research abilities where legal aid is vital.
  3. They don’t change anything: Many people think you pay for a lawyer, and they sit and do nothing! You should be able to see from the above facts that this simply isn’t true. Immigration lawyers can help at virtually every stage of the application process.

Access to Legal Aid and Pro Bono Services

We understand that not everyone has unlimited funds or the ability to pay for legal services. Indeed, if you are seeking sanctuary, your financial stability may not be great. Don’t worry – there is always a way.


Many lawyers offer pro bono services (they do not charge anything to be your legal representative to provide valuable community services and do good). Also, financial help is often available such as payment plans, and many attorneys also offer low-rate services for those with financial struggles.


It may seem strange that things like low-cost services and pro bono representation exist, but this is common in the legal space because most lawyers want to make a difference and feel they have an obligation to fight to protect the public.

An Asylum Lawyer Can be Your Guiding Light Through the Darkness of the Asylum Process

We want to reiterate that some people may not need legal counsel and may be able to navigate the immigration process alone. However, for most asylum seekers, legal counsel from a qualified and experienced asylum lawyer is vital.


Their specialized experience in the field of immigration law is invaluable, and they can give you tailored advice and help specific to your case. If you are serious about seeking sanctuary in the US and want the best chances of success, seeking legal aid is the responsible choice.


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