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Affirmative Asylum Process

The Affirmative Asylum process is a complicated, multistep process. Below are the various steps you must complete to have a successful asylum application, according to USCIS.

1) Arrive in the United States: In order to claim asylum in the US, you must be physically present in the United States. You cannot claim asylum in the US if you are not present here at the time.

2) Apply for Asylum: To apply for asylum you must complete form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal within one year of arriving in the US. There is no fee to fill out and file this form.

3) Background check and fingerprinting: Once you have submitted form I-589, USCIS will contact you to visit an Application Support Center (ASC) near you so that you can be fingerprinted. The fingerprints will be used to run a background check and security check.

4) Interview notice: About 21 days after you file form I-589, you will receive a notice for an interview with USCIS. The interview will be scheduled at a USCIS field office.

5) Interview: About 43 days after USCIS received your I-589, you will have an interview. At the interview, an asylum officer will discuss your application and will seek more information about why you are seeking asylum. You may bring an attorney as well as any family members seeking asylum with you. Any witnesses you may have should also attend the interview with you. If you cannot be interviewed in English, you must bring an interpreter with you. During the interview is where you must prove that have suffered or fear persecution for one of the following reasons:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Political opinion

6) Asylum officer reaches decision: After the interview, the asylum officer will make a decision about your asylum case. Once a decision has been made about your case, a supervisory officer will review the asylum officer’s decision. Depending on the supervisory officer may review your case for additional review.

7) Applicant receives decision: About two weeks after your interview you should be able to receive your decision from the field office you interviewed at. Your application will either be accepted or denied. If denied, USCIS may refer your case to Immigration Court for removal proceedings if they determine your are not in the US legally. The whole process should take about 60 days to complete.

For more information about the asylum process you should contact a skilled immigration attorney.

Note: The timeframe for completing the asylum process is just an estimate from USCIS. Individual circumstances of cases can cause delays or lengthen the process.

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