One of the first things you should know about asylum is that not every person seeking it is eligible. The purpose of asylum is to protect those who are fleeing imminent danger or persecution in their countries of origin. You can request asylum at a border or entry location when you come to the United States. From there, you will take the next steps to obtain a legitimate immigration status as a refugee.
As with most U.S. immigration law situations, there’s a lot of paperwork to fill out to obtain the legal status you seek. Another thing about U.S. immigration law is that it’s complex. It often changes, so you must stay updated on current regulations regarding the particular issue that concerns you. You may need to enlist help to achieve your immigration goals, especially if you have a language barrier or other problem that may impede your ability to smoothly navigate the asylum process.
Time available to file your application is not indefinite
Once you enter the U.S., you have exactly one year to fulfill your asylum application. However, if extenuating circumstances prevent you from doing so, you may bring such matters to the attention of the appropriate officials and they can choose to issue an extension. If you have been here more than a year and problems arise in your country of origin that make it unsafe for you to return, the time limitation for asylum application may be set aside at immigration officials’ discretion.
Repeat applications not allowed in most circumstances
If you seek asylum and are denied, you can’t simply wait several months and reapply. In fact, you can’t reapply at all, unless you can prove that circumstances have changed in such a way so as to affect your eligibility. Even if conditions in your homeland prevent you from safe return, the U.S. government may choose to send you to a third country rather than approve a second request for asylum.
Legal status is irrelevant to asylum eligibility
You may worry that seeking asylum as an undocumented person would be impossible; however, this is not necessarily so. Whether you have all your legal paperwork in good order or arrived in Texas suddenly and without proper documentation, you may seek asylum if you satisfy the qualification requirements. Sadly, many people who come to the U.S. seeking asylum are trying to escape very dangerous, stressful situations.
The good news is that you may be able to obtain protection and build a new, happy life in the United States. At any point along your journey, you may encounter legal challenges. In fact, you could be here years, and then unexpectedly encounter a problem related to your status or some other aspect of your life as it relates to immigration. In such times, knowing where to turn for support is often key to a swift and successful outcome.