In order to qualify for asylum, the persecution that you experienced or fear you have to return to your home country must be on account of one or more of the following grounds:

  • Political opinion;
  • Membership in a particular social group;
  • Race;
  • Religion; or
  • Nationality.

In general, you have a one-year deadline from the date of your last entry into the United States in order to apply for asylum.

There are two types of asylum: Affirmative and Defensive.

Affirmative Asylum is when you submit your application to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Asylum Office. You must submit this application within one year of entering in the United States – if you apply later, you must demonstrate that there are changed conditions in your country or that extraordinary circumstances apply to you.

If the Asylum Office does not approve the applicant’s application and the applicant is out of status in the United States, the case will be referred to an Immigration Judge. Presenting an asylum case before an Immigration Judge is considered Defensive Asylum. Also, Defensive Asylum can be a form of relief from deportation for those foreign nationals for those who find themselves placed in Removal (“Deportation”) Proceedings.

The preparation of a strong asylum case is extremely complex. Experts believe that a well-prepared asylum case will require close to 50 hours of attorney time, as there are many detailed requirements that have to be met. Also, in Atlanta, Defensive Asylum is very difficult to win.

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