If you have recently fled your home country in fear of your safety, applying for asylum might be your best option. Asylum grants you temporary resident status, which allows you to live in the United States indefinitely.

In 2016, about 20,500 people were granted asylum out of 73,081 applications. Many people who apply for asylum do not meet the qualifications. If the government denies your asylum request on the first attempt, it may be difficult applying for asylum in the future. To be accepted on your first application, make sure you meet all of the requirements.

What determines eligibility?

You must currently be in the United States and submit your application within one year of your arrival to first be eligible for asylum. You also need to meet the definition of an asylee or refugee. You need to provide evidence that you were persecuted in your home country due to your:

  • Religion
  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Political views
  • Social group affiliation

Persecution based on sexual orientation is another accepted reason for applying for asylum. Since 1994, the U.S. has granted asylum seekers protection if they were activists for LGBTQ rights.

Exceptions to the deadline

If you fail to apply for asylum within one year of your arrival to the United States, you may have a harder time applying in the future. To be eligible for asylum again, you need to show that extraordinary circumstances affected your ability to apply within the first year.

Understanding the requirements for asylum is the first step in the process. Regulations could be confusing if you do not have experience with immigration law. Speaking with an attorney can help you during the application process. Your attorney can answer any questions you have along the way as well.