With issues of violence in Mexico and outdated human rights policies in many countries, an increasing number of people view the United States as a safe haven where they can live without fearing persecution or worse. The U.S. asylum policies apply to those who meet certain requirements and face the possibility of persecution within their own countries based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.
With certain exceptions, individuals seeking asylum need to apply within one year of arrival in the U.S., subject to a number of other considerations set forth by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, including the following:
- Applying for permission to work in the U.S. is done separately.
- Bringing the family to the U.S. requires a separate application that must be filed upon receiving asylum or within two years of that date.
- Individuals granted asylum can apply for a green card that establishes permanent residence one year after receiving asylum.
If your initial asylum application is denied, you may not have another chance to file unless your circumstances change substantially. While the application form requires you to complete 14 pages of detailed information about yourself and your family, you need to get it right the first time. Seeking the support of an experienced immigration attorney is virtually essential in helping ensure that your application effectively supports your need for asylum.
Keep in mind that a grant for asylum is only the first step toward building a new life in the United States. Your immigration lawyer can guide you toward a successful future by helping you with the paperwork needed to get a job, bring your family, obtain a green card and eventually become a naturalized U.S. citizen. He or she can also make sure you know about the government-provided employment programs that can help you find a job.