Affirmative asylum is a process that is available to people who are physically present in the U.S. and would like to legally remain in the country. People who apply for asylum are often asking to remain in the U.S. for protection against persecution in their native country.
Application and interview
The application must be filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within one year of the applicant’s last arrival in the U.S., unless he or she qualifies for an exception.
The applicant will need to provide his or her fingerprints at a designated applicant support center. Also, if the applicant is requesting asylum for his or her spouse or children, they must also go with the applicant to the support center.
USCIS will schedule an interview with the applicant, according to its priority list. The applicant can bring his or her attorney to the interview and witnesses to testify on their behalf.
Once the interview is complete, the assigned asylum officer will either approve or deny the asylum application. Often, the decision is available within two weeks after the interview. However, this timeline may change depending on the applicant’s immigration status, where he or she was interviewed, whether there are pending security checks or other factors.
A grant of asylum allows the applicant to apply for employment authorization, a social security card, permanent residence and immigration benefits.
When asylum is granted, it does not expire but may be terminated if USCIS finds that the applicant obtained asylum through fraud, no longer has a fear of persecution, obtained protection from another country or committed certain crimes.
An immigration attorney can provide advice and additional information about the affirmative asylum process.