Do you Qualify as a Refugee or Asylee?
People who are fleeing persecution in their home country may be granted either refugee or political asylum status. This allows them to stay in the United States and then after a year they can apply for a U.S. permanent resident status (green card). To qualify as an asylee or refugee, you must have experienced persecution in the past and have a well-founded fear of persecution in the future if you were to return to your home country.
Persecution is generally defined as serious threats to your life or freedom. Refugee status is applied for outside the United States and there are a limited number of refugee visas given out each year. You cannot apply for asylum status until you have arrived to the United States. You must file an asylum application with one year after you arrive in the U.S. to be eligible for asylum. There are very few exceptions to this rule such as proof of changed circumstances that have a major effect on your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances explaining why your application wasn’t filed on time.
There is no annual limit on the number of people who can be granted asylum every year and asylees do not need financial sponsors. If you are married or have children under the age of 21, your spouse and children can also be granted asylum status with you. Accompany relative status allows your family members to live and work in the United States. If you are granted asylum while your spouse and children are outside of the U.S., you must submit a separate petition to USCIS asking that they be allowed to enter the United States to join you. An asylee must file this petition within two years of the grant of asylum.
Filing for family members after two years of being granted asylum will greatly delay when they would be able to join you in the United States. Contact U.S. immigration attorney Bobbie C. Masters to make an appointment to discuss how she can help you obtain asylum status today.
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