If you are currently in the U.S., and you fear being deported to your home country, you may be able to apply for asylum. However, there are certain things you should know prior to filing your asylum application.
- One-year deadline – It is very important that you apply within one year of your date of entry into the U.S. If you have missed the deadline, you may be eligible for asylum if there’s been a change in circumstances in your home country or if “extraordinary circumstances” prevented you from applying within the one-year deadline. You should contact an asylum lawyer in order to determine whether you may still apply.
- Filling the form completely – If any question is left blank, USCIS will return the entire asylum application. If you do not know the answer to the question or you believe the question does not apply to you, write “N/A” or “not applicable.” Even if you can’t remember specific dates, you should provide the approximate month and year. It is also essential that you answer the short-answer questions relating to your fear in their entirety. It is easy to forget to answer the question after marking “yes,” therefore an attorney should review the application prior to it being mailed to USCIS.
- How to prove a well - founded fear of persecution – It is important to provide USCIS with sufficient information regarding your asylum claim; however, some information should be reserved for the applicant’s affidavit and the asylum interview. In order to prove a well-founded fear of persecution, the application should include details regarding the reason(s) you are seeking asylum, whether you and/or you family members have been threatened or harmed, and what you think might happen if you were forced to return to your home country.
- Including family members in your application – If your spouse and/or children (who are not married and are under the age of 21) are physically present in the U.S., and you wish to include them in your asylum application, you must include one copy of the application for each family member you would like to include. You must also include copies of your marriage certificate, the birth certificates of your children, and passport-styled photographs for each family member.
- Supporting Documentation – The following documentation should be submitted with your I-589 form:
- Copies of your passport
- Copies of your I-94 arrival record (if any)
- Copies of your identification documents (birth certificate, driver’s license, etc.)
- Country condition reports, news articles, etc.
- Documentation relevant to your claim (police reports, photographs, affidavits, etc.)
- Submitting Documents in a Foreign Language – If your supporting documents are in a language other than English, you will also need to provide certified translations for each document.
- Fees – There are no fees associated with filing for asylum.
While one does not require a lawyer to complete an asylum petition, hiring one is highly recommended. Sethi & Mazaheri, LLC, is dedicated to providing representation in asylum matters. A strong asylum application should contain a legal brief explaining how and why the applicant qualifies for asylum. Our attorneys have filed numerous brief in almost every conceivable type of asylum application. If you are looking for an immigration lawyer to handle an asylum claim in NY, NJ or DC, please feel free to contact our offices right away.