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How do you get asylum in the United States?

South Carolina residents might be interested to learn about the process for seeking and obtaining asylum in the United States. Depending on a person's particular circumstance, an asylum application may go through the affirmative process or the defensive process. In both cases, a person who has been denied asylum is allowed to appeal the court's decision.

An individual who is physically present in the United States and has not been placed in removal proceedings may apply for asylum through the affirmative process. People may apply regardless of how they entered the country or what their current immigration status is. Typically, an asylum application must be submitted within one year of entering the United States. This requirement may be waived, however, if the applicant can demonstrate circumstances that have prevented the application for asylum from being made during the required time period.

If a foreigner in the United States has been placed in removal proceedings, an application for asylum may be filed through the defensive process. A person normally goes through this asylum process after the affirmative asylum process has been unsuccessful for them or they have been apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. At the asylum hearing, an immigration judge will make the decision about whether or not a person is eligible for asylum or another kind of immigration relief.

People might choose to apply for asylum in the United States if they fear persecution upon returning to their home country. An immigration lawyer might be able to help a person in this situation to demonstrate to a judge how the applicant's particular religion, political opinion or race is targeted for persecution.

Source: US Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Obtaining Asylum in the United States", September 11, 2014

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