If you've come to the United States out of fear of persecution in your home country and you are afraid to return home, then you may be able to apply for asylum. When granted this status, you will be able to remain in the United States and be allowed to apply for a green card to work. You may also be eligible for special benefits. However, there are strict rules that must be followed before this status can be granted. Here are three important things to know if you are planning to apply for asylum.
You must meet be part of a specific group or class:
To be eligible for asylum, you must prove that if you return to your home country, that you will be persecuted or could lose your life. You must be a member of a certain race, religion or other protected class such as being a homosexual. You may also be eligible if you are politically outspoken or a member of a dissident group. The threat can come from either the government, certain groups of people or the general public.
You will be in danger if you return:
You must prove that you will be persecuted if you try to return. Persecuted means that people belonging to your group are forced to deal with unpleasant things that other citizens don't have to face. For example, it could be violence or harassment against your group, imprisonment because of your group's status, constant surveillance or forcing you to leave your home. You must also prove that moving to another area in your home country will not protect you.
You can't have any barriers to your asylum:
There are certain factors that can restrict you from getting asylum in this country. You must prove that you've never persecuted a person in a protected class yourself. You also can't have committed any serious non-political crimes either in your home country or any other country. You can't be considered a threat or have been a member of a terrorist group. The United States must be your first choice of resettlement. If it's been proven that you've already settled in another country, then you can't apply for asylum here.
These are just a few things that apply to gaining an asylum status. You may wish to apply even if your case doesn't exactly fit into these criteria as special considerations are given on a case-by-case basis. Applying for asylum can be a long and complicated process that shouldn't be taken lightly. A lot of paperwork and interviews are required before asylum can be granted. Because the process is complicated and getting asylum is extremely important, you may want to contact an immigration attorney, like Tesoroni & Leroy, to help you through it all.