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Responses to your Q's about Affirmative Asylum



USCIS ASYLUM APPLICATION

Asylum status is a form of protection available to people who are afraid to return to their home country and have been targeted due to their inclusion in a category protected by law. This request is also known as the “affirmative” asylum process and can be requested from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if you do not have a case in immigration court.


WHO CAN APPLY FOR ASYLUM WITH USCIS?

If you:

- You do not have a case in immigration court

- Less than a year has passed since your arrival in the United States

For those under 18 years of age there are some “appealable circumstances”, such as:

- If you are under 18 years of age and are an “unaccompanied minor” you can apply for asylum or the SIJS process, even if you have an immigration court case and/or more than a year has passed since your arrival in the United States.



HOW IS THE ASYLUM APPLICATION PROCESS WITH USCIS?

In order to resort to an asylum process, the following must be done:

1. Submit the asylum application to USCIS (Form I-589). Working with an attorney is strongly encouraged for all asylum cases.

2. Receive the notice of receipt of your asylum request. See an example.

3. You will then receive a notice for your biometric fingerprint appointment which you must attend to complete this step.

4. Next, you must apply for a work permit. Asylum seekers can apply for this permit 150 days after submitting their asylum application.

5. You will have to wait for your asylum interview. Here the wait time may be very long, because USCIS processes cases differently. In the meantime, it is recommended to emphasize your work permit application at this time.

6. Once you receive your asylum interview notice, you must attend and explain your true story to the assigned officer.

7. Finally, you will receive the opinion or decision of your application.


I ALREADY FILED MY APPLICATION; HOW CAN I MONITOR THE STATUS?

With your receipt number you can check the status of your application through the USCIS website. You can check the example to locate your receipt number more easily.


HOW CAN I KNOW HOW MANY DAYS I HAVE ON THE ASYLUM CLOCK?

USCIS provides a tool with which they measure the days that have passed since someone submitted their asylum application, so the interested party can apply for or receive a work permit after 150 and 180 days respectively. This clock can “stop” or “restart” at various points in each case, so being up to date with the tool is of utmost importance.

You can easily find out how many days are on your asylum clock by reviewing your receipt notice by looking at the date USCIS received your application. Once the date is located, add 150 days to assign the date on which you can apply for your work permit.


WHAT COULD STOP OR RESET THIS ASYLUM CLOCK?

- If you missed an interview or your fingerprint biometrics appointment

- If you requested to reschedule an interview

- If you have moved away and requested to change your case to another asylum office.


THE DAY OF THE INTERVIEW HAS ARRIVED, WHAT CAN I EXPECT?

Generally, the interviews consist of the same protocol:

- You will be placed under oath.

- The officer will begin by reviewing with you the information entered in your asylum application.

- Subsequently, questions are asked about your case, why you left your country of origin, what type of damage you suffered, if you requested police or government help, etc.

- In the end, if you have hired a lawyer to attend with you, you are authorized to speak to add further explanation about your case to the officer.

If there are moments of confusion during your interview, you should ask for clarification to avoid misunderstandings. It is equally valid to not know the answer to a question or to request a break during the interview.


WHAT HAPPENS IF ASYLUM IS DENIED?

If your asylum application is denied, the following things to do will depend on your situation:

- If you do not have another immigration status, a case will be initiated against you in immigration court. Here you will have the opportunity to fight and insist on your situation before a judge, who will be able to make the final decision to grant you asylum or deport you.


IF USCIS HAS GRANTED YOUR ASYLUM CASE, WHAT COMES NEXT?

If you and your family have been granted asylum, you will receive an I-94 form and a work permit card confirming your asylum approval.

After getting your asylum case, there are some beneficial points that you can continue with to ensure your stay in the country:

- Apply for permanent residence after 1 year from the approval of your asylum case.

- During the following two years after the approval of your asylum, you will be able to request asylum for your spouse/children who were not included in the first asylum application.

- You may apply for “asylum benefits” such as medical assistance and financial support. *These supports are for a limited time.


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