Not everyone who applies for political asylum in the US will be granted asylum. There are many reasons applicants may be barred from asylum, including having ties to terrorism or crime, or being a threat to US security. Applicants may also be denied if they don’t make a strong enough case that they would face persecution in their home country. Finally, even if someone seeking asylum meets the eligibility requirements, a judge or asylum officer may deny asylum status at his or her discretion.
Depending on your immigration status, being denied asylum status could mean facing removal proceedings (deportation). If your application for asylum is denied, you still have options. Read on to find out what you can do.
The affirmative asylum process allows people who are not under removal proceedings to apply for asylum through a process of application, screening, and interviewing.
When you apply for political asylum through this process, you will receive one of five decisions. The two decisions you don’t want to receive are a Notice of Intent to Deny and a Final Denial.
Respond within 16 days of receiving the Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). Your NOID will tell you the reason your application was denied. With that information, you know how to respond. Explain why you should be granted asylum based on the existing application and/or provide additional evidence to strengthen your case. The NOID is your last chance to make your case. After this, you’ll get a final decision: you’ll either receive a Grant of Asylum or a Final Denial.
A “Final Denial” is just what it sounds like – final. The decision cannot be appealed. If you are in the US legally, you will likely be able to remain until your visa expires, during which time you can reapply for asylum. If you are not in the US legally, you will be put in removal proceedings.
The defensive asylum process allows people who are under removal to apply for asylum through a court-like proceeding in front of an immigration judge.
If you are denied asylum by the immigration judge, you may appeal by filing a Notice of Appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) within 30 days of the decision. You may remain in the country while the case is being appealed, which could take months or even years.
You may not reapply for asylum if your application was denied by an immigration judge or by the BIA.
Immigration law is complex and an experienced immigration lawyer can help no matter where you are in the process of seeking asylum. Find an immigration attorney in your area to speak to about your case.