Asylum is a form of protection granted to foreign nationals who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Applying for asylum can be a complicated and stressful process and knowing all you can know about the process plus having the support of an immigration lawyer can greatly increase your chances of success.

There are two types of asylum processes: Affirmative Asylum and Court Filed Asylum.

Affirmative Asylum

The first kind you file after you enter the United States if you have not been yet put in deportation proceedings.  And the second one you file if/when you already are in deportation proceedings.

The first step in the affirmative asylum process is to be physically present in the United States to be able to start the process.  Then, you would need to file an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The application must be filed within one year of your arrival in the United States, although there are limited exceptions to this rule like change of circumstance in your country or your situation.

For example, your country government changed and a party you fought against is now in power.  Or you changed your religion or sex and now you can be prosecuted for that in your country. Once the application is filed, you will be scheduled for an interview with an asylum officer. The interview will be your opportunity to explain the reasons for your fear of persecution and why you believe you qualify for asylum.

The wait time for such interview depends on where you are physically located in the United States as there are 8 asylum offices conducting interviews.  You must file your case where you are “residing” in the United States.  However, if you plan to move, you would notify USCIS and your case will move with you to that office.

One of the most important ways that an immigration lawyer can help you with your asylum application is by preparing you for the whole process.  Immigration attorney will assist in selecting documents from your evidence that are most relatent to your claim and assist with making sure that your story will explain your claim in the best possible light to allow the asylum officer to see why you asked for asylum and be convinced that you deserve a grant of this benefit.  Second important way an immigration lawyer will assist you is to prepare you for the asylum interview.

Your lawyer can help you develop your story, practice answering questions, and anticipate any issues that may arise during the interview. They can also help you gather and organize any supporting evidence, such as documents or witness statements, that will help you make your case.

Court Filed Asylum

Another way that an immigration lawyer can help you is by representing you in court, if your affirmative application is denied and you are put in deportation proceedings. If your asylum application is denied or you had to file your asylum application after you received your NTA, (Notice To Attend) immigration court hearings, you will have the opportunity to appeal the decision in front of an immigration judge. Having an experienced immigration lawyer to represent you in immigration court can greatly increase your chances of success. They can help you present your case in the most effective way possible, cross-examine witnesses, and argue your position in front of the judge.

In addition to helping you with the application and court processes, an immigration lawyer can also provide guidance on other aspects of your asylum case. For example, they can help you navigate any challenges that may arise, such as detention or removal proceedings, and advise you on your rights and options under the law. They can also help you navigate the complex and ever-changing immigration laws and regulations.  They can assist in advising what class action law suit to become a member of to speed up some aspects of your case.

Having an immigration lawyer on your side can also provide you with peace of mind during what can be a stressful and uncertain time. Your attorney can answer your questions, provide you with support and guidance, and help you navigate the complicated asylum process. They can also help you understand your rights and responsibilities, and advise you on any potential risks or pitfalls in your case.

It’s important to keep in mind that the asylum process can be lengthy and uncertain. Even with the help of an experienced immigration lawyer, there are no guarantees of success. However, having an experienced immigration lawyer on your side can greatly increase your chances of success and provide you with the support you need to navigate the asylum process.

Applying for asylum is a complex process, but having the support of an immigration lawyer can make all the difference. They can help you prepare your initial application submission, work with you to prepare you for the asylum interview, represent you in court, and provide you with guidance and support throughout the process. If you’re considering applying for asylum, consider reaching out to an experienced immigration lawyer for help.