Rhode Island and Massachusetts Asylum Attorney | Immigration Lawyer

Our passionate Rhode Island and Massachusetts immigration lawyer has successfully helped many individuals and families with various immigration issues, including asylum. If you think that you may be eligible for asylum, contact our legal team for immediate assistance.

What is Asylum?

Asylum is available to anyone from another country who fears returning to his or her native country due to persecution. To be eligible for asylum, those seeking asylum must show that they are afraid of persecution in their country of origin and seek to remain in the U.S., where they will be safe from persecution.

The UN Convention Against Torture provides that no one may be forcibly sent to their home country if doing so would lead to them being persecuted, tortured, imprisoned, or executed on any of the following grounds listed below.

Those seeking asylum must demonstrate fear of persecution in their home country based on:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Political opinion
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Nationality

An applicant seeking asylum or withholding of removal seeking relief based on “membership in a particular social group” must establish that the group is each of the following:

  • Composed of members who share a common immutable characteristic
  • Defined with particularity
  • Socially distinct within the society in question.

Recognized “social groups” include gays and lesbians, families, women facing domestic violence or inability to practice fundamental rights, women facing female genital mutilation (FGM), clans, tribes, and others.

What is the difference between applying for asylum and being a refugee?

Asylum status generally pertains to those who are already present in the U.S. and are not U.S. Citizens or permanent residents.

Refugees are commonly outside of their home country but are unable or unwilling to return because of fear of harm. This is considered a form of protection. Refugee status is usually granted to individuals outside the U.S. who are fleeing dangerous conditions in their country of origin and are applying for U.S. entry through a United States Embassy or the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Eligibility for Asylum

To be eligible for asylum, you must establish that you have a well-founded fear of either past or future persecution in your home country on the grounds of your race, religion, political affiliation, social group, and/or nationality. These five grounds can be further broken down into sub-groups, such as sexual orientation, gender, and other minority groups.

Who May Apply for Asylum?

Any person in the United States, regardless of legal status, may apply for asylum so long as the request is timely.

What is the Process of Filing for Asylum?

The first step in applying for asylum is completing a Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year of your arrival to the United States. If you have been within the U.S. for more than a year and want to file for Asylum, it is imperative that an attorney assists you because the law gives an exception to the one-year rule when changed circumstances occur. This form can be complex and requires that you give detailed information about yourself, your spouse, and your children.

After your petition is submitted, you will be interviewed at one of eight asylum offices, based on where you live. After the interview, asylum officers will review your case and decide on whether or not you are eligible for asylum in the United States.

Once a decision is made and the petitioner is notified, the petitioner needs to receive the decision, in person, at the USCIS office.

If you’re thinking of applying for asylum, contact us now at (401) 228-0001.