Egyptian Asylum Claims
Many Egyptians fear returning to their country in its current state. Egypt seems to be in or headed for a civil war as there is mass unrest and almost daily violence. Any time the conditions of a country become so chaotic more individuals from that country will seek asylum and Egypt is no different. Currently my firm is hearing more and more stories of families being robbed, threatened, or attacked because of their political opinion and/or religion in Egypt and many of these people want to claim asylum in the US.
What is Asylum?
The successful asylum applicant is termed an asylee. The advantages of gaining asylee status are an individual can live and work in the US legally for an indeterminate amount of time. Moreover, after a year, assuming they meet the necessary qualification the successful asylee can adjust status to that of US resident and then four years after that can apply for citizenship.
What are the Requirements for Asylum?
To gain asylum in the US the applicant must have a fear of persecution if they returned to their country. This fear must be based upon at least one of five enumerated grounds: 1) political opinion, 2) race, 3) national origin, 4) religion, and/or 5) membership in a particular social group. In addition in order to apply for asylum an applicant must be within the United States and in most cases apply within one year of entry.
Do I need to have been beaten, robbed, or jailed in the past?
No, successful asylum claims can be based upon past persecution but they can also be based upon a pattern and practice of similarly situated persons. For example if you share the religion or political beliefs of persons who are persecuted in Egypt you would have a valid asylum claim, you do not necessarily need to have experienced this persecution first hand.
What if I entered the US more than one year ago?
If an Egyptian entered more than one year ago and fears returning to Egypt they may still qualify for asylum. Besides possible specific personal situations that may extend the one year deadline, there are strong additional arguments. These include the recent coup, unrest, and increased violence.
How to apply for asylum?
The asylum process begins by preparing and filing the asylum application. This should only be done under the guidance of an experienced attorney. Asylum is a complicated and difficult process and any mistakes can be included in the record and negatively affect the applicant down the road.
What is the asylum process?
After filing for asylum, the applicant with have their biometrics (fingerprints, etc) taken and then be scheduled for an interview. The initial interview is conducted by a USCIS officer. If they approve the case, the applicant will be granted asylum. If they do not they will refer the case to an immigration judge. The immigration judge will decide whether to grant the case or issue an order of removal.
Do you need an attorney to apply for asylum?
There is no law that you must have an attorney to file for asylum, you can try to navigate the process on your own. The truth is that many people who do this are wrongly denied because they do not correctly prepare their application and make mistakes at the interview. The interviewer will decide in a 1 to 4 hour interview whether you are telling the truth and whether you qualify for asylum obviously this does not give the applicant much time to tell their entire story. An attorney can help, not only in preparing the application but in properly preparing the applicant for the interview.