What is a “frivolous” asylum application?

People often want to know “what does it mean when USCIS says an asylum application was frivolous?”

Under the federal regulations, asylum seekers can get in trouble if they file a “knowingly frivolous” application.  Knowingly frivolous means that one or more important claim in the application is false.  It could also mean claims of asylum where there was positively no credible fear of persecution back home.

The bar on frivolous applications was put into place because people had been submitting completely false asylum applications.  There are many reported cases of people claiming to have done heroic things in their home country in the hopes of never being sent back and, upon investigation, the claims were found to be false.

One such case involved a man named Biao Yang in China. Mr. Yang arrived in Chicago one day and immediately told officials that he had fled China because “family planning authorities” were out to kill him because he had (1) impregnated his girlfriend, (2) scuffled with an abortionist sent to kill his unborn child and (3) escaped China.  The immigration judge, after several hours of testimony and cross-examination, decided that Mr. Yang had lied.  His asylum case was denied.

In situations like this, if the immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals concludes that you had fabricated portions of your asylum claim, very serious consequences then occur.  Specifically, you can be barred from ever seeking any immigration benefit in any form in the U.S.  A very serious consequence indeed.

This is another reason why you must be thorough, complete and totally honest when filing for asylum.  Having your case denied would not be the worst outcome if you are found to have filed a frivolous application.

Hope this helps you understand this important concept.