Application for asylum and for withholding of removal to fill out

A person who fears persecution in his or her home country on account of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, or social group can seek asylum in the United States.  The grounds for seeking asylum are limited to these bases; the mere fact that there is an ongoing war or an uninhabitable situation in one’s home country will not make a person eligible for this immigration benefit.


In order to obtain asylum status, a person must go through an interview with an USCIS officer or immigration judge.

Seeking asylum can be an “affirmative” or “defensive” process. “Affirmative” one is when an applicant, on his or her initiative, submits an application before removal (deportation) proceedings have commenced. A “defensive” application occurs when removal proceedings have already started and an applicant submits the application as a defense against his or her removal. The main practical difference between these two is that the first one takes place at the USCIS office and the latter at the immigration court.   If an officer adjudicating an affirmative petition does not grant asylum, the case is referred to the immigration judge for removal (deportation) proceedings. At that point the case becomes defensive.


A person may face persecution in his or her country due to race, nationality, religion, ethnicity, or social group, and yet not be eligible for asylum because of certain bars defined by law. The most frequent bar is the one-year filing deadline.   If an application is not submitted within one year of the applicant’s arrival in the United States, the applicant is barred from obtaining asylum unless certain exceptions apply. However, the applicant can be eligible for other forms of relief such as Withholding of Removal. Withholding of Removal is a less favorable type of relief than asylum because it is not considered to be a legal status. It does not pave the way to a Green Card or citizenship, nor does grant a travel permit. The only collateral benefit associated with Withholding of Removal is a work permit, which is subject to renewal. This is why it is important for an asylum seeker to obtain a assistance from an immigration lawyer as soon as possible in order to avoid missing the one-year deadline.

The deadline for submitting the application is not the only restriction that bars one from obtaining asylum. If an applicant persecuted others, committed a serious crime, or represents a risk to U.S. security, he or she will be barred from receiving asylum as well.

One year after obtaining asylum, an Asylee (a person who is granted it) can apply for a Green Card.  Four years after receiving a Green Card, an Asylee will be eligible for naturalization.

Should you have any questions or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact me by submitting the form or by calling me at (248) 630-3239.  I accept clients from across the U.S. and around the world.  My law office is conveniently located in Troy, Michigan for in-person meetings.  For phone consultation, you can reach me from any part of the United States or abroad.