By Noel A. Suniga

Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution based upon race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. If an individual is found to be eligible for asylum she or he may be permitted to remain in the United States. In order to succeed on your claim for asylum generally one has to apply within one year of your arrival to the United States.

You may only apply for asylum if you are arriving in or already physically present in the United States. If you just arriving in the United States, you may ask for asylum at a port-of-entry. For example at the airport, seaport, or border crossing. If you are already in the United States, you may file an Application for Asylum at the appropriate United States Citizenship and Immigration Service Center. Additionally an individual may apply for asylum regardless of their immigration status (here in the United States legally or illegally).

It is important to note you must apply for asylum within one year of your last arrival in the United States, unless you can show changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances which explain your failure to file within one year.

Generally If you are granted asylum you may have the opportunity to work in the United States and you may petition to bring your spouse and children to the United States as well (if they are unmarried and under 21 years of age). Additionally, once you have been granted asylum you may apply for a Legal Permanent Residency………….or as most people call it, a “green card” one year after being granted asylum.

This article just touched on the very basics of Asylum. It is highly recommended that you consult with an immigration attorney to discuss all your options should you find yourself needing assistance in an asylum claim. If you have any questions on this or any other immigration matter you can contact Bailey and Galyen for a free consultation at (214) 252-9099.

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