Asylum is legal status that will allow you to live and work in the United States. You can apply for asylum if you are afraid to live in your country because you will be persecuted (severely mistreated). After a year in asylum status, you can apply for a green card (lawful permanent residence).
5 Things to Know About Asylum
5 Cosas Que Debe Saber Sobre Asilo
To qualify for asylum, you must prove these things:
Yes. You can also apply for: withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).
To apply for asylum, file a Form I-589, which you can download for free from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. There is no fee to apply for asylum.
You need to apply for asylum within 1 year of arriving in the U.S.
If you apply for asylum after living here for more than 1 year, you must show you meet an exception to the 1-year rule and that you filed as soon as possible. The 1-year rule does not apply to withholding or CAT.
If you live or work in New York City, you can call 311 and ask for “ActionNYC” for legal help with your asylum application or to see if there might be something else for which you are eligible. You may need to call this number many times to get an appointment because there are many who are trying to get help from a free immigration attorney and there are a limited number of immigration attorneys who can help. Keep trying!
If you are not afraid to return to your home country, or you have not suffered extreme harm in your home country in the past, you would not qualify for asylum, withholding, or CAT. However, it is important to speak with an attorney to see if you qualify for another type of immigration status.
This information is also available for download in English, Arabic, French, Russian, Spanish, and Wolof.
For more information, please call the Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Helpline from 9:00am-5:00pm Monday through Friday at 844-955-3425.
The information in this document has been prepared by The Legal Aid Society for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not act upon any information without retaining professional legal counsel.
Last Updated: 6 September 2023
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