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Asylum and Refugee Status

Navigation:  Home > Immigration Law> Asylum and Refugee Status


Asylees are granted permanent residency in the United States if he or she can convince INS or an immigration judge that he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution if he or she returns home. This is a very high standard, though persecution can be based on religion, race, political opinion, or nationality. Asylees can apply for permanent residency one year after the case is approved.

Proof of persecution is difficult to prove, and will likely require affidavits from friends and relatives, as well as the asylee’s own statements testifying that the Asylee will be tortured, killed, have property confiscated, denied the opportunity to work, or forced to do something against the asylee’s religion. In general, an asylee cannot claim fear of persecution if he or she suffers the same difficulties that everyone is in his or her home country suffers, such as economic hardship, starvation and famine, or civil war.

Asylum status can be denied if the asylee has been convicted of a serious crime or has already settled in a country that is not his or her homeland.

Refugees are similar to asylees, except that refugees are in a different country than his or her homeland at the time he or she applies for refugee status. Refuges must prove the same elements as an asylee.

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