Asylum protection is available to foreign nationals living in California who are unable to return to their home countries due to fears of persecution. The motive for this persecution is often race, religion, or other factors that make an alien a target for oppression.
Current immigration law denies asylum opportunities to people who:
- Have prior convictions for serious criminal offenses
- Represent a security risk to the United States
- Settled safely in another country before deciding to leave for America
The asylum application process
Asylum seekers must complete Form-I-589 and submit it to the United States Customs and Immigration Department within a year of arriving in California. The applicant may also need to interview with an immigration officer before receiving legal permission to reside in the United States.
Help with asylum interviews
Applicants have the right to the support of an attorney or other representative at an asylum interview. This right to representation extends to most immigration proceedings.
Applicants who do not speak English can use an interpreter who is fluent in both English and the applicant’s native language.
What happens after the submission of an asylum application
An asylum officer will evaluate all asylum applications to determine whether an applicant meets the definition of a refugee outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Applicants receive asylum application decisions within 180 days in most cases. However, an asylum officer may need more time to decide asylum cases that present unique circumstances.
Applicants can receive information regarding a pending asylum application by visiting the asylum office that possesses jurisdiction in their cases. Written inquiries to the asylum office are also accepted.
Immigration regulations in America represent a complex set of issues that can change without much warning. Individuals with questions regarding their immigration statuses may benefit from speaking with an attorney.