Asylum: what is it? Frequently asked questions

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2022 | Immigration |

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) grants asylum requests each year based on those who seek protection because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, participation in a social group or political opinion.

According to USCIS, as of November 15, 2022, some applicants may now file an online form for requesting asylum. Learn more about asylum and now to apply for it.

What is asylum? What is a refugee?

Asylum is the concept of a safe space where the United States government protects noncitizens from persecution. Persecution could be the threat of imprisonment, violence or other danger. A refugee is someone who “seeks refuge” (safe space) because of a credible fear of harm against their person.

Who is not a refugee?

Anyone who incites violence or persecution against a race, religious group, nationality, social group or those with a specific political opinion is not a refugee in the United States. The government looks closely at who is causing the harm and who is the victim. Only those with credible fears get asylum.

Do I have to be in the United States to apply for asylum?

Yes. The definition of asylum stipulates that you must have refugee status, be within the borders of the U.S., be a noncitizen of the U.S. and seek admission at a port of entry. You can not preemptively apply for asylum before you arrive in the United States.

Can I include my family in my asylum application?

Yes. A spouse and children who are your dependents, non-U.S. citizens and are physically present with you in the United States may join your application. The definition of a child is anyone under 21 years old and unmarried.