Asylum on Board

In light of what is happening in Ukraine over the past few weeks, many Ukrainians found themselves in a difficult situation and wonder what their options are. Many ask about the possibility of applying for asylum.

It is very important to remember that obtaining asylum is a complicated process and war in Ukraine might not be enough to support one’s application. Below are some basic requirements and factors to consider when thinking about asylum.

Requirements for Asylum

  1. Application I-589
  2. Meet all the elements of asylum mentioned below
  3. Must be filed within one year of arrival to US (certain exceptions may apply)
  4. Can include spouse and children on the application or add them before the final decision
  5. There is no fee for asylum application

Advantages of Asylum

One major advantage of going through the process is the fact that if granted, it can lead to obtaining a green card and then citizenship down the road.

Also, individuals who had their asylum application granted, can also work on bringing family members into the U.S.

While asylum applications are taking an extensive amount of time right now to be reviewed, the one advantage is that if you have a pending application for at least 150 days, you may apply for a work permit in the U.S. which if granted, will allow you to obtain employment in the U.S. while you wait on your asylum decision.

Disadvantages of Asylum

The one major drawback of applying for asylum is wait time. While it will depend on various circumstances, some find themselves waiting for 3-4 years before receiving the decision on their asylum applications.

Additionally, as mentioned above, asylum is not easy to obtain. When applying, one must be able to meet the following elements:

  1. based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or HIV status;
  2. there is a well-founded fear of persecution;
  3. based on past persecution or risk of persecution in the future if returned to the country of origin;
  4. because of the applicant’s membership in a particular social group (PSG) wherein;
  5. the persecutor is a government actor and/or a non-governmental actor that the government is unwilling or unable to control.

All elements must be clearly proven during the application process. If there is doubt as to any of the elements, and no sufficient evidence can be presented, the application will most likely be denied.

If you or someone you know is considering applying for asylum, it is important to seek legal advice from an attorney who can answer all your questions and analyze the facts to determine the likelihood of an application being granted.

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