Should I apply for asylum while U-Visa application is pending of approval?

My family & I had to flee our country after I was shooted at while driving. I also received multiple death threats telling to stop my activities in my political party. We decided to flee our country & entered the US with a visa. The attack and threats were due to my membership in political party. While being here, I was robbed at gun point and physically assaulted. I understand asylum is very hard to get. After the robbery, we applied for U Visa, 2 months ago, but we are still waiting for an answer. However, our 1-year-after-entry window for asylum ends in 5 months. What should I do? If asylum is denied while U Visa is pending approval, does that denial makes it harder to get U Visa while it is still pending? I just want to be prepared for worst case scenario. I have a family. Thanks a lot

Dallas, TX -

Attorney Answers (3)

Daniel E. Green

Daniel E. Green

Immigration Attorney - Kingston, NY

If you fail to file an asylum claim within one year of your arrival in the U.S, it becomes much, much harder to prevail. As a general rule, one process won't affect the other. One thing an asylum will do however, is start the clock ticking towards removal proceedings if you are no longer in valid immigration status and the asylum office refers your claim to an immigration court, which it does when you are not in valid immigration status.

If the asylum claim is denied on credibility grounds, it could affect the U visa case, as USCIS could use it to affect its future credibility determinations (this is less of a problem if your U visa case stands on evidence apart from your testimony.)

Consult with a competent attorney or BIA-accredited representative; asylum law is complicated and counter-intuitive. There are many factors in play in your case.

Daniel Green, Esq.
Serving the Hudson Valley, Northeast, and the World Beyond
Location: 684 Aaron Court, Kingston, NY
Mailing Address: PO Box 3238, Kingston, NY 12402

This answer should not be construed as legal advice and should not be relied on to take any action whatsoever;... more
Elizabeth Clare Surin

Elizabeth Clare Surin

Immigration Attorney - Philadelphia, PA

Daniel is correct -- file your asylum claim within a year of arrival. The standard is "reasonable fear" as opposed to highly probable. If your asylum claim is referred to court for removal proceedings (the asylum office does not deny cases -- they approve or cannot determine and refer to court), you can use your pending (if still pending) U visa as your relief against removal if you do not want to continue with the asylum defense. You need to make good decisions. So please hire a lawyer to help you decide on your options and path.

An attorney-client relationship is not formed by my responses to questions on Avvo. My responses are not intended... more
J Charles Ferrari

J Charles Ferrari

Immigration Attorney - Los Angeles, CA

I agree with my colleagues.

You should retain an experienced immigration lawyer to review all the facts, advise you, and handle the case.

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not... more

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