Applying for Offensive Asylum

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Offensive asylum refers to proactively filing for asylum due to a fear that you would be harmed if you returned to your home country. If you are applying for this type of asylum, you must apply within a year of arrival in the United States. There are some exceptions to this time limit, such as if you were in valid immigration status or if conditions changed back in your home country. However, it is important to ask a well-versed immigration attorney whether any of these exceptions would apply.

How to Apply

To apply, you build a packet telling your story and the reasons why you should be granted asylum. Once you submit this packet, you are interviewed by an asylum officer. This interview lasts about three hours and is meant to help the officer understand why you fear going home.

Historically, if you applied for asylum, you would have your interview in about three years from the time you submitted your application. The asylum office would hear them in the order in which they were received but that recently changed. Now, they hear the most recent applications first. This generally means you will have your interview about six weeks after applying.

You are able to bring your immigration attorney with you to this interview. Although the lawyer does not participate much, they can help facilitate the conversation and make sure your story is clear.

What Happens If You Lose Your Case?

If you lose your offensive asylum case, you do not necessarily have to leave right away. You cannot appeal the denial of an asylum case, however, you can bring the case to immigration court and raise asylum as a defense to deportation.

In immigration court there is a judge and a prosecutor from the Department of Homeland Security who is trying to poke holes in your case. An attorney can help you defend your case. There have also been recent changes that have stripped the immigration judges from many of defenses that used to be available for asylum seekers in an attempt to make the process faster.

After You Get Asylum

If you get asylum, you can apply for lawful permanent residence one year later. However, your residence technically starts when you are granted asylum. This puts you on a faster path to citizenship than any other kind of green card application.

If you have a spouse or child under 21 when you apply, they can also get asylum if they are in the United States. If they are out of the United States, then you have to go through the process of applying to bring them here.

An Immigration Attorney Can Discuss Offensive Asylum

If you are afraid to return to your home country, you may qualify for asylum. To learn more about the offensive asylum application process, reach out to Hacking Immigration Law, LLC for a consultation.