What Is the Process for Seeking Political Asylum?


Quick Answer

People seeking affirmative asylum in the United States must apply within one year of arrival, have hearings with asylum officers, and if not approved, appear before immigration judges, notes HowStuffWorks. People seeking defensive asylum must appear before judges in adversarial proceedings, in which the U.S. government opposes asylum requests.

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Full Answer

People who arrive in the United States seeking affirmative asylum may apply for asylum due to persecution in their home countries based on factors such as race, religion, membership in a social group or political opinion, explains the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Those seeking asylum can include their spouses and children in their applications, though children must be under the age of 21 and unmarried.

Those denied affirmative asylum can have their cases heard in front of immigration judges at the Executive Office for Immigration Review, according to HowStuffWorks. People seeking defensive asylum to avoid deportation face removal hearings in which the United States assigns an attorney to fight granting of asylum. People may apply for defensive asylum through referral by an asylum officer who denied an original request, or because they entered or lived in the United States illegally and face deportation. People seeking defensive asylum must have credible fears of torture or persecution in their home countries in order to receive asylum.

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