Political Asylum

An applicant for political asylum in the United States must prove that he/she will be imprisoned, tortured or killed if forced to return to their country of origin, due to their political or religious beliefs, ethnic background, or membership of organizations opposed to official government policies. The applicant must demonstrate hat he or she fled from the home country either to escape actual persecution, or because of a well founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group o political opinion. 

Persecution must generally be inflicted by the established government unless the government refuses or is unable to offer protection against persecution instigated by other groups, such as persecution by guerrilla or extra-judicial forces.

The application must be filed with the USCIS within one year after the applicant arrives in the United States, unless it can be shown that there are changed circumstances that affect eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances that prevented the filing of the application within the one year period. For example, if the applicant discovers that human rights conditions have worsened in the country of origin, or that he or she was too ill to file the application on time.

The application is initiated by filing a completed Form I-589 with the USCIS. Supporting evidence must be submitted to show the general conditions in the home country and the specific facts relied upon to support the claim for asylum, such as newspaper/magazine articles, affidavits of witnesses and experts, medical records, organization membership cards, photographs, etc. 

A determination on the validity of the application will be made after the applicant attends an interview conducted by the USCIS Asylum office. If the interviewer does not grant asylum, the case will be referred to the Immigration Court for adjudication.