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What You Really Want To Know | Episode #4 | Can I apply for asylum if I have been in the U.S. for more than 1 year?


Transcript: Hi, I am Attorney Shaffer. Today on “What You Really Want To Know," we answer the question, “Can I still apply for asylum if I have been in the U.S. for more than 1 year?”

Yes, you can apply for asylum, however if you do not meet one of the narrow exceptions to the 1-year filing deadline, you will not be eligible for asylum. The good news is that you may still be eligible for Withholding of Removal or Withholding under the convention against torture, known as CAT. Even better news, you get to apply for all 3 forms of relief with one application- known as Form I-589, and you do not even have to choose what you are applying for.

Regardless of your eligibility for asylum, the process is going to begin the same. You are going to submit the I-589 to USCIS. You are then going to receive a receipt notice, a notice to go get your fingerprints done, and eventually you are going to have an interview with an asylum officer.

If you applied within one year of entry into the U.S., if you are found credible at your interview if you meet the statutory requirements for asylum, and the asylum officer decides that your case warrants a favorable exercise of discretion, right then and there they can grant you asylum or shortly thereafter.

But this is where it changes if did not file within 1 year of your entry. Even if you meet 1 of the exceptions to the 1-year filing deadline, the asylum officer does not have the authority to make that determination, nor does that officer have the authority to decide on your applications for withholding of removal and withholding under CAT. What will happen at your interview is, the interview will be the same, but then after the interview if you are out of status, the asylum officer is going to refer you to the immigration court. You are going to be issued a notice to appear and you are going to be placed in removal proceedings where you will be given a court date and eventually you present your case to the Immigration Court. The same will be true though if you applied within a year of your entry, but the asylum officer decides not to grant your application. Remember, asylum is discretionary, meaning that the asylum officer is under no obligation to grant it even if you meet all of the requirements if they think that you are a bad person, they do not have to grant it. If that is the case, you will also be referred to the immigration court where you will be given a chance to prove your eligibility for all 3 forms of relief.

Asylum, Withholding of Removal and Withholding under CAT seek to protect a person who is afraid to return to his or her country of citizenship or nationality due to a fear of persecution on account of a Particular Social Group. There are some very important distinctions between these 3 types of relief that I will talk about in another post. The most important thing that everyone wants to know is asylum will help you get a green card, you cannot get a green card with Withholding of Removal and Withholding under CAT.

That is all for this episode of “what you really want to know,” thanks for watching!

*If are afraid to return to your country of nationality or citizenship or have questions about filing an asylum claim, contact an experienced immigration attorney at The Shapiro Law Firm today for help.*