When can I seek asylum to remain in the United States?

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Asylum seekers are commonly fleeing persecution in their home countries and are already in the United States. Such people may be granted asylum, which will allow them to legally remain in the country, but they need to be familiar with the process of applying for asylum.

In general, the asylum seeker must apply for asylum within one year of arriving in the United States. The one-year time period to apply is calculated based on the seeker’s most recent arrival in the United States. There may, however, be important exceptions to the one-year requirement that asylum seekers should be familiar with in addition to generally being aware of how the process can help them.

Understanding exceptions

If asylum seekers do not meet the requirement to apply for asylum within one year of arriving in the United States, there are two categories of exceptions that they may be able to pursue:

  1. The first exception is if a change in circumstances has significantly impacted the asylum seeker’s eligibility. The change in circumstances must have occurred after April 1, 1997, must significantly impact the seeker’s eligibility for asylum, and the seeker must have applied for asylum within a reasonable period of time following the change in circumstances to qualify.
  2. The second exception is if extraordinary circumstances delayed the filing for asylum, which must still be filed for within a reasonable period of time.

The process of applying for asylum and determining if any of the exceptions apply to the situation can be complex and technical, which is why it is valuable to be familiar with the process and what the different definitions mean. Legal protections are necessary for asylum seekers to be aware of. It is also essential for asylum seekers to understand the immigration law resources available to them.

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