Across the globe, many countries are afflicted with turmoil, which directly affects the people, especially those residing in war-torn countries and countries dealing with terrorism and political unrest. As a result, some of the people living in such countries are drawn to the United States for safety, protection and asylum.
Each year, the U.S. welcomes people who are seeking protection because they have been subject to persecution or fear they will be persecuted because of their race, nationality, religion, political beliefs, or membership in a social organization.
How Does Someone Apply for Asylum?
Do you know someone who wants to apply for asylum? Or, do you wish to apply for asylum yourself? If the U.S. decides that you are eligible for asylum, you may be allowed to stay in the United States. To get started, you will need to submit a Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. You must file this form within one year of arriving on U.S. soil.
“What about my family? Can I include them on the application?” The USCIS allows you to include your spouse and children on your application if they are in the U.S. You can include them on your application when you initially submit it, or you can add them at any time afterwards as long as you add them before the final decision is made. However, to include your children on the application, they must be under the age of 21 and they cannot be married.
Here are some additional notes to consider:
- You cannot apply for employment authorization (permission to work) at the same time you apply for asylum. You must wait 150 days after filing your completed application.
- If you’re granted asylum and your family is still in your home country, you can petition to bring your spouse and children to the U.S. by completing a Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition. Generally, this must be done within two years of being granted asylum, unless an exception applies.