Asylum is a form of protection granted to someone fleeing their country because they fear they will be harmed based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.


You may seek asylum if you are already in the United States or if you are seeking entry into the United States at a port of entry. If you are granted asylum, you may be permitted to remain in the United States and will likely be eligible to apply to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident.  

Affirmative Asylum Processing With USCIS:

To obtain asylum through the affirmative asylum process you must be physically present in the United States. You may apply for asylum status regardless of how you arrived in the United States or your current immigration status.You must apply for asylum within one year of the date of their last arrival in the United States, unless you can show:

  • Changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing
  • You filed within a reasonable amount of time given those circumstances


Defensive Asylum Processing with EOIR:  

A defensive application for asylum occurs when you request asylum as a defense against removal from the U.S. For asylum processing to be defensive, you must be in removal proceedings in immigration court with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). Individuals are generally placed into defensive asylum processing in one of two ways:

  • They are referred to an Immigration Judge by USCIS after they have been determined to be ineligible for asylum at the end of the affirmative asylum process, or
  • They are placed in removal proceedings because they:
    • Were apprehended in the United States or at a U.S. port of entry without proper legal documents or in violation of their immigration status, or
    • Were caught by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) trying to enter the United States without proper documentation, were placed in the expedited removal process, and were found to have a credible fear of persecution or torture by an Asylum Officer.

Spouse and Children

You may include your spouse and children who are in the United States on your application at the time you file or at any time until a final decision is made on your case. To include your child on your application, the child must be under 21 and unmarried.  


If you are granted asylum you may petition to bring your spouse and children to the United States. To include your child on your application, the child must be under 21 and unmarried.  You must file the petition within two years of being granted asylum unless there are humanitarian reasons to excuse this deadline. 

Permission to Work


You cannot apply for permission to work (employment authorization) in the United States at the same time you apply for asylum.You may apply for employment authorization if:150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application, excluding any delays caused by you (such as a request to reschedule your interview) AND No decision has been made on your application.

Filing for Permanent Residence (Green Card)

  • You may apply for a green card one year after being granted asylum. You must submit a separate application packet for yourself and, if applicable, for each family member who received derivative asylum based on your case.  In order to be eligible for a Green Card as an asylee, you must meet the following requirements:
  • You properly file application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (I-485). 
  • You are physically present in the United States at the time you file your Form I-485;
  • You have been physically present in the United States for at least one year after you were granted asylum;
  • You continue to meet the definition of a refugee, or to be the spouse or child of a refugee;
  • You have not firmly resettled in any foreign country;
  • Your grant of asylum has not been terminated;
  • You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief;
  • You merit the favorable exercise of discretion. 

Bars to Apply and/or Grant of Asylum 

You may not be eligible to apply for asylum if you:

  • Did not follow the one-year filing deadline and did not file your Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal within one year of your last arrival in the U.S. 
  • Had a previous asylum application denied by an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals. 
  • Can be removed to a safe third country under a two-party or multi-party agreement between the United States and other countries. Note: There are exceptions to these bars for changed circumstances or extraordinary circumstances.  
  • You could be barred from a grant of asylum if it is found that you:
  • Ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
  • Were convicted of a particularly serious crime such that you are a danger to the United States.
  • Committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside the United States.
  • Pose a danger to the security of the United States.
  • Have been firmly resettled in another country before arriving in the United States.
  • Are inadmissible because you have engaged in terrorist activity.
  • Are engaged in or are likely to engage after entry in any terrorist activity.
  • Have incited terrorist activity.
  • Are a representative of a foreign terrorist organization.
  • Are a member of a terrorist organization.
  • Have persuaded others to support terrorist activity or a terrorist organization
  • Have received military-type training from or on behalf of any organization that, at the time the training was received, was a terrorist organization.
  • Are the spouse or child of an individual who is inadmissible for any of the above within the last 5 years

Contact Us

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Please email or call to schedule an appointment or phone consultation.

Law Office of Jagat Kooner Immigration Attorney

343 East Main Street Ste 310 Stockton CA 95202

Phone: 209.565.3979; Fax: 209.336.0176

Hours (By Appointment)

Mon - Fri 9:00 am to 7:00 pm

Sat 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Sun Closed