apply for asylum

Deadline to apply for asylum – Asylumis granted to individuals who are in fear of persecution in their country of origin due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinions, or membership in a particular social group. The process of applying for asylum benefits depends on if the individual is currently in removal proceedings or not. Because asylum is considered a defense against removal from the United States, an individual with an order for removal must prove to an immigration judge that they meet the definition of a refugee and that they have a well-founded fear of persecution of returning to their home country.

The One-Year Filing Deadline

An application for asylum must be filed within one year of the individual’s entry into the United States. The one-year deadline is strictly followed, so it is imperative to file by the deadline and to have sufficient documentation which evidences a timely filing being made by the applicant. You must apply for asylum within a year of arrival.

If the individual fails to apply for asylum within the one-year filing deadline, there are some exceptions. An individual can demonstrate “changed circumstances” in their country of origin to explain why they are filing for asylum after the one-year deadline. The burden is on the applicant to prove that there are new circumstances in their home country that warrant eligibility for asylum, even after the one-year mark.

Other Reasons to Excuse the One-Year Filing Deadline

An applicant for asylum who has missed the one-year filing deadline can also attempt to demonstrate that “extraordinary circumstances” prevented them from timely filing their asylum application. For example, the following reasons can be considered:

  • Serious illness;
  • A prolonged period of mental and/or physical health problems (including those problems created by violence or prosecution in the applicant’s home country);
  • The applicant is under the age of eighteen and does not have a parent or legal guardian;
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel;
  • Other reasons which can demonstrate a situation which was out of the applicant’s control.

How is the One-Year Mark Calculated?

The one-year “timer” starts on the date which the applicant entered the United States.

For an affirmatively-filed asylum application, the date which the applicant can demonstrate they sent their application will be considered the filing date; otherwise, the date which the application was received by USCIS will serve as the filing date. For defensive asylum applications, the date which the application is filed with immigration court is the date considered for the one-year rule.

The process for applying for asylum can be confusing and complicated. It is important to consult with an immigration attorney in order to determine your eligibility and to ensure that your application is in good order before it is submitted for review by the USCIS. The attorneys at Gilles Law, PLLC are here to assist with your inquiries.

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