By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, you know that the United States admits many immigrants under the asylum process. But who qualifies for asylum in the U.S., how do you get it, and is it different from refugee status? This guide explains how to seek asylum in the United States and a few things you need to know before you apply.

How to Seek Asylum in the U.S.

Asylum is a form of protection that allows a foreigner to stay in the United States when necessary. In many cases, the United States grants asylum to people who fear persecution or harm in their home countries. However, asylum isn’t always easy to get, and if you want the U.S.’s protection, you must apply for it.

What Qualifies You for Asylum?

You may qualify for asylum in the United states if you have fled your home country because you fear persecution or harm based on your:

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

Related: Who’s eligible for asylum in the U.S.?

Can You Bring Your Children and Spouse if You’re Seeking Asylum in the U.S.?

If you have a spouse and children, They may also be eligible for asylum based on the same reasons you, yourself are eligible. Generally, you may include a child on your application if your child is under the age of 21 and is unmarried at the time you apply. Otherwise, your child must have their own application for asylum.

When Can You Seek Asylum in the United States?

You can seek asylum in the United States at a border crossing or port of entry, or within one year of your most recent arrival in the country. That means if you are already in the United States and wish to ask to stay, you can do so if your most recent entry was less than one year ago.

Is Asylum Different From Refugee Status?

Asylum is different from refugee status, but primarily only in one way: You apply for asylum when you are at a border crossing or port of entry, or when you are already present in the United States, and you apply for refugee status when you are located outside the United States.

Related: What to know about refugee status in the United States

Can You Work as an Asylee in the United States?

If you have a pending asylum application with the U.S. government, you can apply for work authorization. You can’t apply for permission to work at the same time you apply for asylum. If you’re not sure whether you qualify to apply for work authorization, you should consult with an attorney who can give you the guidance you need.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Asylum in the United States?

If you are considering filing an asylum application in the United States, you may wish to speak to an attorney about your situation. An attorney can help you fill out and file the appropriate paperwork, as well as explain work authorization and how to get it. Please feel free to call our office at 414-383-6700 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with an attorney. We may be able to help you obtain asylum in the United States.

Attorney Carlos Gamino