Benefits of obtaining refugee status in the United States
- The right to apply for an Employment authorization document (EAD) 150 days after the confirmation of your application if your case is still pending. You will be able to work officially with EAD even before your asylum application has been decided. Upon granting political asylum, EAD is automatically received;
- Eligibility for a Social Security Number (SSN) is considered one of the main personal identifiers in the United States. With it, you can get a state ID, driver’s license, open a bank account, and get a loan, as well as carry out almost all the actions that a permanent resident performs;
- The right to become a permanent resident and apply for a green card (Green Card) one year after receiving asylum;
- The right to reunite with the family remaining abroad (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age) within 2 years after receiving asylum;
- The opportunity to leave the United States and travel the world (except for the country from which you fled);
- Eligibility for financial benefits, health insurance, and social assistance, assistance with adaptation, learning English, and employment through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR-Office of refugee resettlement);
- The opportunity to apply for residency in the USA after 5 years.
Grounds for getting refugee status in the USA
The US Congress passed the Asylum Act, which defines five grounds for granting it. The basis for obtaining this status is the persecution of a person on one of the following grounds:
- Racial affiliation;
- Religious worldview;
- Belonging to any social group including LGBT;
- Political views, political activities.
You will need to convince the immigration officer or immigration judge that you qualify for refugee status by providing various written, oral, photo, and video evidence in a case, interview, or court hearing. It is not enough to show that you belong to a national or social minority, have political views opposite to the regime, etc.
Describe how you or members of a similar group are being persecuted or may be persecuted in your country because of it. It is important to point out the danger and show a credible justified fear of persecution or fear for your life and health.
Do not underestimate the competence and experience of people who will try to check the accuracy of the information provided from different sides to decide on your case.
Refugee status for LGBT people
Representatives of sexual minorities can apply for obtaining refugee status: lesbians, homosexuals, transgender people, and bisexuals. Still, in many countries of the world, LGBT people are often subjected to mental and physical abuse. The situation is especially difficult in countries where Islam is the main religion. It is because such individuals can not only be insulted, maimed but also killed.
Because of non-traditional sexual orientation, the United States offers citizens the registration of asylum. This paragraph is not explicitly described in the official list, but it refers to membership in a particular social group. The current American legislation equates attitude towards LGBT people to membership in a particular social group. Since 1994, in the United States, belonging to a non-traditional sex orientation has been recognized as a good reason for granting refugee status to a foreigner who is persecuted in his/her country of residence.
What you need to get refugee status for LGBT people
The fact of homosexuality alone is not enough. Unless you are being persecuted or cannot prove such harassment, the chances of getting asylum are low. LGBT affiliation is supported by the following provisions:
- You are a real representative of sexual minorities. You cannot be required to take photographs of a personal nature or depict same-sex expressions of affection. However, it is not worth imitating for a long time the behavior of, for example, a gay or lesbian in the hope of deceiving the specialists of the immigration service;
- Minority representatives in your country are regularly persecuted, usually, because the laws do not have clear legal canons on this matter. Here you will need reports from international organizations, videos from the media, official reports and other evidence of human rights violations specifically in your region;
- You have already been unlawfully persecuted as a representative of sexual minorities and have a well-founded strong fear for your future life in this state;
- Harm to health and a direct threat to life.
As confirmation of the above reasons, there are 2 ways: personal history and testimony during a conversation with the responsible inspector. The submitted documents will be in your favor – certificates, medical certificates, reports of international organizations on the attitude towards representatives of gay people in your state. It would be good to present the existing homophobic laws as evidence.
In principle, infringement of the rights of sexual minorities, including at the legislative level, is not a full-fledged basis for obtaining political asylum in the United States. But the factual evidence of this can be a significant confirmation of your evidence for obtaining asylee status.
Remember that it is not enough to get protection in the United States if your society is prejudiced against your innate inclinations and insults you with impunity.
In the event of repeated threats, harassment, bullying, physical violence, with the full connivance of government authorities, you get the opportunity to leave for the United States by asking for asylum.