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What is asylum? 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees defines asylum as "a form of protection which allows an individual to remain in the United States instead of being removed (deported) to a country where he or she fears persecution or harm. Under U.S. law, people who flee their countries because they fear persecution can apply for asylum. If they are granted asylum, this gives them protection and the right to stay in the United States. Those who are granted asylum are called asylees. 

What is a refugee? 

A refugee has 3 main characteristics: 

  • Physically outside their home country (or last residence) 

  • Has suffered past persecution or has a well-founded fear of future persecution 

  • The harm they fear or have experienced is on account of one of the five protected grounds 

Who is eligible for asylum? ​

Well, there are four steps in determining eligibility for asylum: 

  1. Applicant satisfies the definition of a refugee 

  2. Applicant is not subject to bars to asylum 

  3. Applicant warrants a favorable exercise of discretion, or, in other words, the adjudicator decides that you merit asylum   

  4. Applicant is in the U.S or at a U.S port of entry 

What are the benefits of Asylum if granted?
  • Right to remain in the U.S 

  • Right to travel and re-enter the U.S. 

  • Permission to work - You will be given a Social Security card. 

  • Derivative status for your spouse and unmarried children under 21. 

  • Pathway to citizenship: You must remain an asylee for 1 year. Then you may apply to become a Legal Permanent Resident(LPR). After 5 years as an LPR, you may apply for citizenship. 

  • Access to certain forms of government assistance; financial, medical, English language, employment training and placement, etc. However, asylees generally are not eligible for federal benefits. 

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