What is asylum?

  • Asylum is based on the fundamental belief of relieving foreign persons from being subject to persecution or torture if returned to their homelands.


The United States allows for asylum – protection of refugees from another country – when an individual believes that he or she will be persecuted or threatened in his or her home country due to reasons such as:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Religious beliefs
  • Political beliefs
  • Membership in a particular social group

When must you apply for asylum?

  • As a rule of thumb, you have one year from your entry into the U.S. to apply for asylum.
  • There are extenuating circumstances where a person seeking asylum may apply after the one-year deadline. You should speak with an experienced Immigration Attorney to learn more about this.

How do you win an asylum case?

  • Hire a good, experienced immigration attorney.
  • Like most things in life, preparation is key to the development of a winnable case.


Good evidence goes a long way in helping an asylum case. Again, an experienced immigration attorney will be able to help you put together the right types of evidence to help you succeed.

What kinds of evidence can be used? (not an exhaustive list)

  • Newspaper articles
  • Police Reports
  • Government Reports
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Affidavits
  • Etc.

What will the applicant need to provide?

  • Foreign national’s birth certificate or legitimate form of identification
  • If applying with a spouse, valid marriage certificate
  • If already inside the U.S., copy of passport and form I-94
  • Passport photos on white background

Broad Overview of Process

  1. Asylum application
  2. Notice of Receipt (2 to 4 weeks)
  3. Biometrics Appointment
  4. Notice of Interview (4 to 8 weeks)
  5. Interview
  6. Notice of Decision (2 to 8 weeks)

If approved after the interview

  • You will receive work authorization along with other benefits.
  • You may be eligible to apply for a green card after 12 months of continuous stay in the United States.

If denied after the interview

  • If you are in the United States on a valid visa and valid status (your I-94 has not expired) then you will receive a Notice of Intent to Deny in the mail. This is a letter from the asylum office stating why they intend to deny your asylum application. The asylum office will give you an opportunity to file a response and try to alleviate all of their objections.
  • If you are out of valid status (your I-94 has expired) and your case is denied, you will be referred to an Immigration Judge. This means you will be given the opportunity to present your asylum case before an immigration judge. This process is a bit more formal and you should consult with an asylum lawyer for further information.

How long do asylum cases take to process?

  • It varies, but expect the process to take several, if not more, years.

In the News

  • Asylum has become a hot topic in modern political discourse because of the historical abuse of the system and the filing of frivolous claims. For that reason, asylum cases are met with skepticism and are difficult to win.


  • I-589
  • I-765

Helpful links