The asylum process is important for many individuals so it is helpful for individuals seeking asylum and their families to understand the asylum process. Asylum may be requested by individuals entering the United States at a port of entry or by those already present in the United States. An asylum request may be made at an airport, seaport or border crossing or at a service center, with some exceptions, within one year of entering the country.

Changed circumstances or extraordinary circumstances can impact the length or time an individual has to apply for asylum or their ability to apply for asylum if a request for asylum has previously been made and was denied. There is a specific form for asylum that must be completed and completed fully. As is always true when considering immigration law, it is important to know what paperwork to complete and how to properly complete it to potentially increase the individual’s chances of being granted asylum.

It is also important for asylum seekers to know how to address their spouse and children in the paperwork they are filling out and to also understand the options available to loved ones including spouses and children. It is also useful for individuals seeking asylum and their families to know that individuals can apply for asylum regardless of their immigration status in the U.S. and that they may apply for asylum even if they are illegally present in the country.

An asylum officer or immigration judge will make the decision to grant or deny asylum and asylum seekers should be prepared for their asylum interview and know what to bring with them to the interview. Asylum may be granted based on an analysis of whether or not the asylum seeker meets the definition of a refugee. Though the asylum process may be complex, each asylum request has an impact on the asylum seeker and their family which is why it is valuable to be familiar with the process and how to seek asylum protections when needed.