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Claiming Asylum at a U.S. Port of Entry--Credible Fear and Reasonable Fear Reviews

Credible Fear Reviews

The immigration judge’s credible fear review:

  • Must be done within 24 hours whenever possible, but no later than 7 days after the initial determination by an asylum officer, and

  • Is limited strictly to whether an alien has a credible fear of persecution or torture.

USCIS asylum officers refer aliens who are found to have a credible fear to EOIR for removal proceedings. During their removal proceedings, they may apply for asylum under 208 of the INA, withholding of removal relief under 241(b)(3) of the INA, or Convention Against Torture (CAT) protections.

Reasonable Fear Reviews

The immigration judge’s reasonable fear review:

  • Must be done within 10 days after the USCIS asylum officer refers the case to the immigration court, unless there are exceptional circumstances, and

  • Is limited strictly to whether an alien has a reasonable fear of persecution or torture.

USCIS refers aliens who are found to have a reasonable fear to EOIR for “withholding only" proceedings. During their “withholding only" proceedings, they may apply for withholding of removal relief under 241(b)(3) of the INA or CAT protections.

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