If you are among the many people looking to remain the U.S. after having escaped from an area of the world that is locked in a military struggle or experiencing political turmoil, then being granted asylum is likely your immediate goal. Many come to us here at the Shelby Law Firm wanting to seek asylum yet suffering from confusion as to what being granted this status actually means.
Asylum is defined as protection being granted by a host country to one who is a refugee from his or her nation of origin. The guidelines for seeking this protection can be found in Section 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. It states in this section (as shared by the website for the office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) that you are eligible to apply for asylum upon your arrival in the U.S. or within one year of it (provided you are still residing in the country). Special exceptions to this one year time limit may be made if you show that a change in the circumstances of your home country would now affect your eligibility.
Your eligibility is determined largely on your being able to prove that you meet the definition of a refugee. That requires demonstrating that you are either unwilling or unable to return to your native country because of persecution or a fear thereof due to your:
- Political opinions
- Membership in particular social groups
Your application for asylum can cover yourself and your spouse, as well as any children that you have with you who are unmarried and under the age of 21. Your current immigration status does not bar you from being considered. You can find more information on seeking asylum here on our site.