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The Difference Between Refugees and Asylum Seekers

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There are two groups of people who are in the United States or who come to the United States who were displaced or forced out of their homes. They are referred to as refugees and asylum seekers. The immigration process for these classifications is different, making understanding these differences crucial.

Who Are Refugees?

A refugee is someone who is in a war-torn country and is forced out of their home. They submit an application to the high commission on refugees with the United Nations. If their application is accepted, they will be allowed to leave their country and go to a sponsoring country.

Before their application will be accepted or rejected, they must go through an intense vetting process. The vetting process for refugees is the most difficult process of any type of immigration and includes several interviews to determine whether someone should be allowed into the county.

Seeking Asylum

Asylum-seekers are people who are in the United States and, while here, make a claim for asylum. If someone is in the United States on a non-immigrant visa, they can submit an application with the asylum office by filing a form called an I-589 claim.

This claim must establish that they cannot go back home for fear of their lives. It also requires proof that they would be persecuted based on their:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Political opinion
  • Social group

Talk to a Lawyer About the Difference Between Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Although both refugees and asylum seekers are individuals who cannot return home out of fear for their lives, they are legally different. The basic difference is that refugees are individuals outside the country applying to be let in while asylum seekers are individuals in the country asking to be allowed to stay out of fear for their lives. To better understand these differences, reach out to Hacking Immigration Law, LLC to speak with our knowledgeable attorneys.

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