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Applying for Asylum

If you left your home country fearing for your life or safety or facing severe discrimination, or if these problems developed after you entered the United States, you may be eligible to apply for asylum status.

To qualify for asylum the persecution you face in your home country must be based upon one or more of five factors: your political opinion; religion, race, nationality, or your membership in a particular social group. The persecutor must be either your government itself, or an organization or individual the government is unwilling or unable to control.

It is apparent to most people if they are a member of a political organization, religion, or ethnic group, and the government is out to imprison or kill them on that basis that they may qualify for asylum, but it’s also possible to make a strong claim for asylum, for example, if you had an abusive spouse in your home country and the government would do little or nothing to protect you, or if you were subject to FGM and could get no protection from your home country, or if you are from China and insisted on your right to have more than one child. Even if you are not involved in activities the government believes you are, the very fact that the government suspects you are can be enough to lead to asylum.

The key to presenting a strong case is laying a good foundation with an experienced attorney.

Asylum is one of the most difficult types of immigration cases to win, so involving an attorney from the beginning can often prove the difference between success and failure. Many people believe that they can present their case on their own administratively, and then only enlist an attorney if their initial efforts fail, but the key to presenting a strong case is laying a good foundation, and very few individuals can do that without the benefit of an experienced attorney.

One other thing to keep in mind is that under current law an asylum case must be filed within one year of your entry into the United States except in unusual cases, so if you think you may have a case, you should consult with an attorney at your earliest opportunity.

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