If you fear going back to your country and your fear is based on your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or your political beliefs, you may qualify to receive asylum and refuge in the United States.
You may qualify for asylum under multiple claims. For example, if you are gay or lesbian, and have political opinions on how you are treated differently under your country’s laws, and perhaps no longer believe in your faith or have converted to another religion, and this conversion has put your life and safety in further jeopardy, you would have at least 3 claims to support your claim for asylum.
Applying for asylum involves more than filling out a form. Asylum law is extremely complex and amorphous. Decisions from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) as well as multiple federal appellate bodies, including the ultimate arbitrator that is the US Supreme Court, has resulted in a tapestry of requirements for asylum eligibility.
Asylum-seekers come to the U.S. for protection. One must apply for asylum within a year (The 1-year Rule) of entering the U.S. If you pass that deadline and are at risk of deportation, you may still apply for Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Protection under Convention Against Torture or CAT, with Form I-589.
You may qualify for an exception under the 1-year rule and still be able to obtain asylum. If you don’t, you may still qualify for Withholding of Removal or CAT, which would allow you to stay in the U.S. and obtain work authorization.
While this option may halt deportation proceedings, it does not provide a pathway to citizenship. However, one year after being granted asylum in the U.S., you may apply for Permanent Residence (Green Card) with form I-485.
Additionally, you might qualify for other types of immigration relief if you have been a victim of human trafficking or other types of violence, including rape, domestic violence, sexual assault, hate crime or other violent crimes.