Am I Eligible To Apply For Asylum? Applying for Asylum in Houston, Texas
Each year, our asylum laws in the United States help refugees and people in need to no longer live in fear. However, asylum seekers are often required to navigate a complex and lengthy application process that can even involve various government agencies. In this article, we’ll answer all your questions regarding the asylum process in Texas.
What Is Asylum?
Asylum is the legal protection that foreigners may utilize to remain within the United States legally. Asylum can be granted to aliens who are afraid to return to their home country due to persecution based on race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Applicants who are granted asylum will be able to legally reside in the United States, obtain a job, and receive government benefits.
What are the benefits of filing for asylum?
People who qualify for asylum are allowed to:
- Live and work in the United States
- Travel outside of the United States
- Apply for permanent residency and citizenship
- File for their spouse and children to come to the United States
Who Is Eligible To Apply For Asylum?
Anyone who is currently residing within the United States may apply for asylum, regardless of immigration status. However, you must file your application within one year of arriving in the US. You will not be eligible for asylum if you submit your application after being in the country for more than one year. Certain exceptions may apply:
- The applicant shows changed circumstances affecting his/her asylum eligibility.
- The applicant shows proof of extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing.
- To be eligible for an exception, the applicant must still apply within a reasonable amount of time under the circumstances.
As previously stated, the applicant must be able to justify fear of returning to his/her home country because of persecution or harm pertaining to race, religion, nationality, political beliefs, or membership in a specific social group. This process often places a significant burden of proof on the applicant, which is why many people seek an experienced attorney’s guidance. For application assistance, find a Houston asylum office near you today!
How Do I Apply for Asylum?
There are two ways to apply for Asylum in the United States: Defensive Asylum and Affirmative Asylum.
This option is intended for applicants who are in removal or deportation proceedings. Qualifying individuals may file for defensive asylum by submitting the completed application to the immigration court of the jurisdiction in which they live. Applicants who have lived in the country for longer than one year may also be eligible for Withholding of Removal, a relief that is based on one’s fear of returning to their home country. This relief is only available in removal proceedings before an immigration judge.
This option is for applicants who are currently in the United States, who do not have a hearing in Immigration Court, and who are not in removal or deportation proceedings. These applications are filed with US Citizenship and Immigration Services and must be submitted prior to the one-year anniversary of the applicant’s arrival in the US.
Filing For Asylum: Frequently Asked Questions
Can you apply for asylum from your home country?
No, you cannot apply for asylum from outside of the United States.
Can you apply for asylum if you are in the United States illegally?
Yes, as long as you meet the previously stated requirements, you may apply for asylum regardless of your immigration status.
Can you apply for asylum if you have been convicted of a crime?
Yes, but depending on the crime, you may be denied asylum. You must disclose your entire criminal history on your asylum application and at your interview.
How much does it cost to apply for asylum?
Nothing! There is no fee to apply for asylum.
How long will the asylum process take?
Under normal circumstances, a decision will be reached within 180 days after submitting your application.
Start Your Asylum Application With Lamb & Turner Immigration Attorneys
Being granted asylum in the United States can be a highly complex process, but fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Our Houston immigration lawyers are here and ready to start you on the best path for you and your family.
If you wish to apply for asylum in the United States, reach out to our asylum office in Houston, Texas, at Lamb & Turner, PLLC. For over 30 years, our firm has assisted thousands of individuals, and their families obtain asylum status in the Greater Houston area. We are experienced in federal immigration law and the procedures for securing asylum, permanent residency, U.S. citizenship, and more.
Contact us online or call our office at 713-529-5025 to set up a consultation today.