Asylum & Credible Fear
If you are in the United States without lawful status and are afraid to return to your home country, you may qualify for asylum.
Asylum is a protective immigration status awarded to individuals who have shown that they will suffer or have suffered persecution in their home country.
“Persecution” means severe harm or threat to an individual’s life or freedom.
Eligibility For Asylum – Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to:
- Membership in a particular social group
- Political opinion
The persecution must have occurred because of the victim’s race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or particular social group.
Some examples of particular social groups that MAY qualify for asylum include:
- Women in certain countries who are unable to get away from a violent spouse or domestic partner
- Individuals who have been targeted for harm because of their family relationships
- LGBTQ individuals who have been targeted because of their sexual and/or gender identity
The perpetrator of the persecution must be either the government of the country or an individual or group that the government is unable or unwilling to control. Individuals who are granted asylum in the United States are generally able to petition for their spouse and minor children to receive asylum status as well, and become eligible to receive green cards after they have held asylum status for one year.
One Year Deadline For Asylum
The individual seeking asylum must file an application for this benefit within one year of entering the United States, or show that exceptional circumstances prevented filing by this deadline.
Asylum is a difficult status to win. Eligibility determinations require a thorough analysis of the law and facts in the case. We recommend consulting with an experienced immigration practitioner prior to filing any application for asylum.
Adjustment Of Status for Asylees
If you were granted asylum status in the U.S., you may qualify for legal permanent residency (a Green Card) after one year of living in the United States.
To apply for asylum as a recent arrival to the United States, individuals in immigration custody must first pass a credible fear interview (CFI). The CFI is a brief meeting with an asylum officer to present the basic facts of the case so that the officer can determine whether the individual has the possibility of winning an asylum case before an immigration judge.
It is important to note that a positive result on the CFI is not a guarantee that a person will be granted asylum. But, passing the CFI is the first step toward receiving protection in the United States. Individuals who do not pass the CFI are often returned to their country of origin before they even get to see an immigration judge.
We at WGV have helped hundreds of clients pass their Credible Fear Interview. Please contact us today if you or a loved one needs help with this critical first step.
Temporary Protected Status
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a short term immigration status that allows the recipient to live and work lawfully in the United States during times of extreme turmoil in his or her home country. TPS is available to persons whose home countries are considered too dangerous to accept returnees from abroad due to severe natural disasters, war, and other extreme conditions. TPS is generally issued for 18 months at a time, and may be renewed if conditions in the person’s country of origin have not improved to allow for the individual’s safe return.
To qualify for TPS:
- An individual must prove that he or she was already in the United States when the disaster or dangerous conditions occurred.
- An individual with a felony conviction or more than two misdemeanors cannot apply
- An individual must renew TPS on time
WGV assists individuals with straightforward and complex TPS applications, including late initial registration and requests for renewal after expiration and loss of benefits. To determine eligibility for TPS, it is advisable to obtain a thorough analysis of the facts and law applicable to the case with an experienced Austin immigration attorney.
Special Immigration Juvenile Status
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is a manner by which eligible immigrant youth may apply for and be granted lawful permanent resident status in the United States.
To be eligible for SIJIS, the applicant must:
- Be unmarried
- Under 21 years of age
- Have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by at least one parent.
In order to apply for SIJS with the immigration service, the child must first be the subject of a family court proceeding to determine proper guardianship and/or custody of the child. The state court must find that the child has been abused, neglected, or abandoned and that returning to his or her home country would be contrary to the child’s best interests. Our compassionate Austin immigration lawyers can effectively navigate you through the process.
Withholding Of Removal
Withholding of Removal (WOR) is an immigration status awarded to individuals who have shown that they have suffered persecution in their home country, but who do not qualify for asylum. Persecution is not well-defined in the law, but generally requires a showing of severe harm or threat to an individual’s life or freedom. The persecution must be shown to have occurred on account of the victim’s race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or particular social group. The perpetrator of the persecution must be either the government of the country or an individual or group that the government is unable or unwilling to control.
Individuals who are granted WOR in the United States are NOT able to petition for their spouse and minor children to receive protection in the United States. The request for WOR must be renewed yearly, and no progression toward residency or citizenship is permitted from WOR.