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APPLYING FOR ASYLUM AT THE ASYLUM OFFICE.

We have filed more than 1000 asylum applications and handled these cases before the Asylum Office, beginning in 1987. We are sure that we can help give you competent and aggressive representation before the Asylum Office, should you need it.

Applying for asylum when you are in the United States is done by filing an affirmative asylum application known as the form I589 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

What follows is an asylum review process at the Asylum Office culminating in an interview at the local Asylum Office and a decision on your claim by that office.

Asylum Application.

• To begin the process, we must file an asylum application, with a copy of your passport and proof of your relationship to any spouse and children—such as marriage or birth certificates.

• Typically a few weeks after we send your asylum application, CIS will send a notice saying that they have received it.

What should I include in my asylum application? Typically, copies of supporting documents such as passport, marriage certificates; get necessary photographs taken; documents which tend to confirm or substantiate your fear of returning to your home country.

• Your attorney will work with you to prepare the application and put supporting documents together; make the necessary copies; and send the application to Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).

• Your attorney will also work you to prepare your testimony. In terms of supporting documents, it helps to present documents such as: newspaper articles, photos or other documents corroborating facts relating to persecution; and a declaration from you and supporting witnesses.

• Your attorney will: research necessary law and use supporting documents to write a memorandum of law explaining why you are entitled to asylum and accompany you to the interview.

Asylum Office Interview.

• Sometime after receiving your asylum application, CIS sends a notice with your asylum interview date. If this date conflicts with your attorney’s schedule, your attorney might have to request that the CIS reschedule your interview to another date. A request to reschedule your case has no impact on CIS’s decision in your case.

• If you live in the San Francisco office jurisdiction, the interview takes place at the Asylum Office at 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA. If you do not live in this jurisdiction, you can find the relevant asylum office on the USCIS website.

• You should be there early because if you are late, the CIS can refuse you an interview and automatically send your case to Immigration Court.

• An Asylum Officer (AO) will conduct your interview in their office with you, your attorney and, if necessary, an interpreter. The interview can generally last from an hour to three and a half hours.

• Typically, about two weeks after your interview, you will receive a decision. CIS either approves your case, gives you “recommended approval” or sends it to Immigration Court. If the case is approved, you will have status as an “asylee” with all the rights that provides. If the case is not approved, it is referred to Immigration Court (EOIR).

More Information:

  • Application for Asylum - Form i-589 (USCIS)
  • Asylum Office Locator (USCIS)
  • Asylum (Kerosky, Purves & Bogue LLP)