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Seeking Asylum In The United States


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Political asylum may be granted to people in the United States who are unwilling or unable to return to their home country because of persecution or a legitimate fear of persecution. This persecution can be due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or personal political opinions.

If an individual is granted asylum, that person will be able to live and to work in the United States. After one year, the asylum seeker is eligible to apply for permanent resident status. Under the current immigration laws, there is no maximum on the number of people who may be granted asylum in the United States each year. However, there is a limit on how many asylum seekers can adjust their status to permanent resident each year. Under the immigration reform measures of 1995, this number was increased from 5,000 to 10,000 people each year.

Approved asylum seekers must reside in the United States for at least one full year in order to apply for adjustment to lawful permanent resident status. One year of the asylum seeker's residence period prior to adjustment is counted toward the naturalization residency requirement.

Asylum status and refugee status are very similar. The main difference between the two is the location of the person who seeks either refugee or asylum status. Asylum seekers are already in the United States while refugee status seekers are outside of the United States at the time of their request. All people who seek asylum must meet the definition of a refugee.

To have asylum status granted, there are a couple of procedures that must be followed. For starters, an asylum seeker must ask for asylum in the correct manner. The best way to seek asylum is by asking for it when entering the country through any port-of-entry (airport, border crossing, seaport). If that doesn't happen, the majority of people have a year to file a request for asylum within one year of entering the United States.

It is possible to apply for asylum after one year has passed since entry if the conditions in the person's country of origin have changed. This can be due to a coup d'état or other political situation in a country. In addition, if a person's personal circumstances have changed, he or she may be eligible to seek asylum even after one year is up.

It is important to note that a person can apply for asylum status regardless of his or her immigration status. This means that if a person is even in the United States illegally, he or she can come forward and apply for asylum. Regardless of how lenient this is, the person must still meet the definition of a refugee to be awarded asylum.

For more information concerning asylum and other immigration issues, please visit

Joseph Devine


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