A foreigner in a same-sex relationship or marriage may be an excellent candidate for asylum. In some countries, persons in the LGBT community are targeted by the authorities or those who target them are not punished.

Normally, asylum applicants must file their application within one year of their arrival in the United States. However, there are important exceptions that apply in these cases. Specifically, the conditions in the home country have worsened for same-sex couples or the personal circumstances of the applicant have changed. Foreign nationals must apply within a reasonable time after those changes.

In one case, this author successfully obtained asylum for a foreign national six years after he entered the United States. Although he lived with his partner for several years, neither had come out publicly to their friends or family. In fact, the U.S. citizen partner was married to an opposite-sex spouse.

Other events that may allow a late filing include legally marrying their same sex spouse or discovery of the applicant’s orientation among persons in the home country.

To overcome the one-year filing deadline, the foreigner may need to provide the following:

-evidence of foreigner recently coming out publicly to family and friends (i.e. affidavit of family and friends) or evidence foreigner has recently married their same sex partner

-evidence of relationship with their same sex partner or spouse (i.e. pictures, joint property

-evidence of recent downturn in treatment of same sex couples in applicant’s home country (i.e. newspaper articles)

It is not easy to overcome the exception to the one-year filing deadline. However, the applicant’s chances of success improve dramatically if they provide the right evidence and hire an experienced immigration attorney to assist them.

Although the author is a Board-certified immigration expert, this guide is intended as general information and not specific legal advice. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. Schedule a consultation with an attorney to address individual concerns.