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Basic step-by-step process for obtaining asylum

Far too many people are victimized in their countries of origin for a variety of reasons. They come to the United States as refugees looking for asylum and a fresh start at life -- and many of them come in right here in New York. Obtaining asylum is not automatic, however. Understanding the basics of the process might help alleviate some of the fear and confusion surrounding the process.

The process begins with INS Form I-589, which must ordinarily be filed within one year of arrival in the country. Immigrants are eligible to submit an application even if they entered the country illegally, and in some cases, the one year rule is suspended. Once the application is submitted, an immigration judge or asylum officer will be assigned to review it and conduct an interview with the applicant.

A decision will then be made whether to grant asylum, and the applicant will be notified via letter. If the application is denied, an appeal must be filed within 33 days. Individuals seeking asylum should be warned that they are not to leave the United States during the application process without permission. If they do, it will be assumed that they no longer want asylum, and the application will be voided.

There is more to the process than can be covered in this blog post. It can be complex and frustrating to attempt to go through it without representation. It would be beneficial to contact a New York immigration attorney who can review the specific circumstances and reasons for seeking asylum, offer advice about available options and guidance throughout the process.

Source: FindLaw, "Obtaining Asylum: Claim Chronology", Nov. 22, 2016

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