Another pathway to US Citizenship or permanent residency is initially securing Asylum or Refugee status in the United States.

Asylum status is granted after the alien who seeks it is able to prove to US Immigration authorities that he / she has suffered prior persecution based on the five (5) grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group and / or political opinion, and that he or she fears future persecution based on any or a combination of those 5 grounds. 

Getting Asylum status in the US is not “automatic”: you can be barred from seeking Asylum in the US based on your prior conviction of a crime considered an aggravated felony in the US; you were found to have supported a group designated a terrorist organization by the US government, especially prior to arriving the US; and/or you assisted in the persecution of others. These constitute the “mandatory bars” to seeking Asylum in the US.

“Discretionary bars” to seeking or getting Asylum in the US (meaning you may be able to overcome these particular facts or circumstances) include: you had an opportunity to live permanently in another (or “third country”) before you entered the US; you are applying for asylum more than a year after you arrived the US, absent a valid reason for doing such; and / or you had a prior application for Asylum status denied in US Immigration Court. Once again, these “discretionary bars” to seeking Asylum in the US can be overcome by the alien with a credible, factual showing. 

There is also “defensive” and “affirmative” asylum; the former is sought in Court, before an Immigration Judge. The latter is administered by Officers of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

Unlike Asylum, an alien seeks US Refugee status while he / she is outside the shores of the United States.  Like Asylum, refugee status in the US, when approved, leads to permanent residency and ultimately US citizenship for the alien. 

Our law firm has successfully handled Asylum cases for many clients (see our Success Stories)