You may apply for asylum in the United States under the affirmative process if you are currently in the U.S. but are not in removal (deportation) proceedings.
You must apply within one year of your latest arrival in the U.S.
Filing an application for asylum under the affirmative process
To apply for asylum, you must file Form I-589 (Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or, depending on your legal status, as otherwise directed.
You may at the same time request asylum for your spouse and children under age 21 if they are with you in the U.S.
You will receive a notice once the government accepts your application and an appointment time for fingerprinting and background and security checks.
Interviewing with an asylum officer
You will receive an appointment for an interview with an asylum officer. Your spouse and children who are applying to stay with you must also attend. You can also bring witnesses on your behalf.
The interview will last about an hour. You will tell the interviewer about the experiences that caused you to leave your country.
You may bring your attorney or representative if you filed Form G-28 (Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative). If your English is not good, you may need to bring an interpreter — check the latest rules.
The asylum officer will make a decision, which another officer will then review. Normally, you will receive notice of the decision in about two weeks. If the decision is negative and you are in the U.S. illegally, your case will go to the immigration court.