Asylum Process in the USA

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Brief to the USCIS Asylum Office in support of an application for asylum based upon political opinion in Venezuela.

The length of the asylum process varies, but it typically takes between 6 months and several years. The length of asylum process may vary depending on whether the asylum seeker filed affirmatively or defensively and on the particular facts of his or her asylum claim.

If you can get a visa to come to the United States, such as a tourist visa, you can apply for asylum when you arrive, by telling the inspections officer that you fear returning to your country and wish to apply for asylum.

Your statement should help the Asylum Officer or the Immigration Judge better understand why you are applying for asylum. Describe specific incidents and dates, and include as much detail as you can remember. Do not simply write general statements. If you cannot remember an exact date, state that you are estimating it.

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What is the Asylum Application Process?

The first step in applying for asylum process in the USA, you will have to be physically within the U. S. borders. You will need to file an I-589 within a year of arriving in the United States.

If you fail to file you may not be eligible to apply. One may apply for asylum regardless of immigration status. There are reasons that you may not be able to apply for asylum or could be denied for a previous denial, committed a crime before coming to the United States, or if you could be removed safely to a third country with agreements made between that country and the U.S. After the USCIS has received your completed application they will send out two notifications.

The first one is acknowledging that they got the application, the second will be more information on where to go for the fingerprints required in the next step of the application. You will need to get fingerprints taken next.

If you also added a spouse and children, they will need to attend the appointment with you. As an asylum applicant you will not have to pay the fee. The next step in the process is notice of an interview. Your notice will include the date, the time, and the location of your asylum interview.

An attorney or accredited representative may accompany you to the interview. At the interview, you must also bring your spouse and any children seeking derivative asylum benefits. Bringing an interpreter will be required if you cannot do the interview in English.

The interview will usually last about an hour, although it may vary depending on the case. If you wish, you may have witnesses testify on your behalf. You will then receive a decision. Either picked up at the office or mailed to you cases that take longer to reach a decision. You can check your application process online as well.

What is the Asylum Processing Time?

Each step in the asylum process has its own timeline.

  • The initial application being received
  • Then making an appointment to get fingerprints for everyone on the asylum application
  • Waiting for an interview
  • Having the interview
  • Waiting for background/security checks to go to the USCIS office
  • If needed you can also have an asylum hearing in immigration court
  • Then with all the documentation in the right hands a typical decision will arrive via mail or can be picked up within two weeks.

From the date you filed your application, unless there are exceptional circumstances, a decision will be made within 180 days.

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