Note that the term “political asylum” does not mean that you can apply for it for reasons directly related to the political situation in your home country. You can ask for protection from a foreign state for the following reasons: a threat to life and health, harassment and discrimination based on nationality and race, religion, sexual orientation, illegal actions of state bodies (for example, the inaction of the police or its refusal to protect).
It seems that the list of circumstances for obtaining asylum offers great opportunities for moving to the United States. This is perhaps the most difficult path of immigration. After all, it will be necessary to collect irrefutable evidence of a gross violation of rights: documents, certificates, expert opinions, a testimony of witnesses. Let us consider in more detail the grounds for obtaining refugee status and the evidence with which they must be justified.
How to get political asylum in the USA?
There is an instruction about how to get political asylum in America.
Step 1: Submission of documents
The first thing you need to do is fill out Form I-589. In addition to information about yourself, you will need to explain the reasons for your fears and the reasons for the persecution. They need to be supported by as much evidence as possible.
These can be medical certificates, criminal orders, articles from local newspapers or printouts from online publications, threatening letters, notarized stories of your friends, data from international human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, etc. If it is about politically motivated persecution, attach party cards, confirmation of participation in rallies, marches, or strikes.
If you do not have any evidence, explain why it cannot be provided. Also remember that without exception, all documents that you submit must be translated into English, and the translator’s signature must be notarized. Official documents must be apostilled. Documents can be sent by mail to one of the offices of the Immigration Service or presented in person.
Step 2: Interview at the Citizenship and Immigration Service
You will first receive an invitation to come to the office for fingerprinting. This should be done at a convenient time for you but within the timeframe specified in the letter. The next letter will invite you for an interview. The time and place of the event will be indicated there. If you are late, it will be tantamount to a failure to appear, and the case will be closed.
You can bring a lawyer and an interpreter with you to the interview. About two weeks after the interview, you will receive a written response with the decision of the Immigration Office. You can get shelter already at this stage.
The interview is conducted by an immigration officer who is specially trained in interrogation techniques and has an excellent understanding of human psychology. It can last from half an hour to several hours. In order not to worry all the time about the accuracy of the translation, you should take a translator with you.
Step 3: Immigration court
If the interview does not convince the officer, your case will be sent to the immigration court. There it is obliged to consider it within 180 days. All facts will need to be proven anew. At the end of the hearing, the judge decides on granting political asylum or refusal. In the second case, you can appeal to the Court of Appeal.
Who can’t get political asylum in the USA?
The legislation defines the circle of persons who cannot be granted political asylum. These include:
- persons who persecuted others for political, racial, or national reasons, as well as based on belonging to a particular social group;
- persons convicted of a serious crime;
- persons who pose a danger to the United States (if there are good reasons);
- persons who have committed crimes on the territory of their state and thus trying to evade responsibility;
- persons who, before arriving in the United States, permanently resided in the territory of states other than their home countries.