Individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. must demonstrate that there is a well-founded fear of persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion if returned to their country of origin. To be considered for asylum relief, the applicant generally must file his/her application with supporting documentation, including, without limitation, a personal statement showing a well-founded fear of persecution, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within one year of entering the U.S. The USCIS does not charge any filing fee for seeking asylum relief.
Even if you are not eligible for asylum relief because your application is filed outside of the one year requirement or you are unable to demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution, you may still be eligible for withholding of removal if you can show that it is more likely than not that your life or freedom would be threatened as a result of your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. This form of relief, however, is temporary, unlike asylum, and may result in you being removed to your country of origin or last place of residence in the event the country conditions warranting the grant of withholding of removal no longer exist. Moreover, unlike asylum, you may not secure a green card, otherwise known as lawful permanent residence, by virtue of being granted withholding of removal.
If you believe you may be eligible for asylum or withholding of removal, please contact our Summerville, South Carolina immigration law office for assistance. We are here to help.