Political Asylum Generally
This guide is for applicants who may be eligible for asylum.
AsylumAsylum may be granted to people who are already in the United States and are unable or unwilling to return their home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Affirmative AsylumTo obtain asylum through the affirmative asylum process you must be physically present in the United States.
You must apply for asylum within one year of the date of their last arrival in the United States, unless you can show:
Changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing
You filed within a reasonable amount of time given those circumstances.
Defensive AsylumFor asylum processing to be defensive, you must be in removal proceedings in immigration court with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).
Individuals are generally placed into defensive asylum processing in one of two ways:
They are referred to an Immigration Judge by USCIS after they have been determined to be ineligible for asylum at the end of the affirmative asylum process, or
Were apprehended (or caught) in the United States or at a U.S. port of entry without proper legal documents or in violation of their immigration status.
The Immigration Judge then decides whether the individual is eligible for asylum. If found eligible, the Immigration Judge will order asylum to be granted. If found ineligible for asylum, the Immigration Judge will determine whether the individual is eligible for any other forms of relief from removal. If found ineligible for other forms of relief, the Immigration Judge will order the individual to be removed from the United States. The Immigration Judge's decision can be appealed by either party.