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Asylum - Frequently Asked Questions


What is Asylum?

Asylum is relief for a foreign national to remain in the U.S. under legal status because the foreign national has suffered past persecution in his home country or country of last habitual residence, or because the foreign national has a well founded fear of future persecution in his home country or country of last habitual residence and such persecution is based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.


Who is a refugee for purposes of Asylum?

A refugee is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to and avail himself or herself of the protection of his or her home country or, if stateless, country of last habitual residence because of persecution or a well founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

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Who is eligible to apply for Asylum?

You may be granted Asylum if you are arriving in or are already physically present in the U.S. To apply for Asylum in the U.S.:

  • You may ask for Asylum at a port of entry (airport, seaport, or border crossing)
  • You may file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, at the appropriate Service Center within one year of your arrival in the U.S.
  • An emergent personal or bona fide reason to travel temporarily abroad

Note: You may apply for Asylum regardless of your immigration status, whether you are in the United States legally or illegally.

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