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What is Affirmative Asylum?

Affirmative asylum is a type of asylum request made by individuals who are already physically present in the United States. Applications for affirmative asylum are submitted through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This process is distinct from defensive asylum, which is when individuals request asylum as a defense against removal (deportation) in immigration court.

Key Takeaways

  • Requests for affirmative asylum are made by individuals currently present in the United States
  • If granted asylum, individuals can apply for a green card (permanent residency) one year after receiving asylum status.
  • If denied asylum, the applicant is referred to removal proceedings, where he or she may request defensive asylum.

The Affirmative Asylum Process

If you are currently residing in the United States and are seeking asylum status, you must refer to the affirmative asylum process. A step by step guide to applying for affirmative asylum can be found below:

  1. Arrive in the United States: The asylum application process begins when an individual arrives in the United States, either lawfully or unlawfully. You must be physically present in the U.S. in order to apply for affirmative asylum.
  2. File the Application: Applicants must file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, within one year of arrival, with exceptions for changed or extraordinary circumstances. It is the same form used to apply for withholding of removal, which is a form of protection against being sent back to a country where the individual's life or freedom would be threatened.
  3. Background Checks: Upon submitting your application, you may be called to background or security checks, as well as fingerprinting. As an asylum applicant, you do not need to pay any additional fees for fingerprinting and background checks. 
  4. Receive an Invitation for the Interview: The USCIS will schedule the asylum interview at one of its asylum offices, usually based on the applicant's location. The scheduling process may take several weeks or months, depending on the workload and backlog of cases at the particular asylum office.
  5. Attend the Interview: During the interview, the asylum officer will ask the applicant detailed questions about their background, experiences in their home country, reasons for seeking asylum, and any supporting evidence they have provided.
  6. Receive Decision: After the asylum officer reaches a conclusion regarding your eligibility for asylum, he or she will issue a decision. This typically occurs two weeks after your interview, although it may take longer if you are currently in valid immigration status or have pending security checks. 

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the affirmative asylum process in the United States offers a crucial opportunity for individuals seeking refuge from persecution in their home countries. While it can be a challenging journey, requiring careful documentation and legal support, it represents a chance for safety and a new beginning. If you need assistance navigating the affirmative asylum process or have questions about your eligibility, do not hesitate to reach out to an immigration attorney at Attorney At Law. Our experienced immigration lawyers are here to provide guidance and support every step of the way.

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