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APPLYING FOR ASYLUM IN IMMIGRATION COURT (EOIR)

Over the last 30 years, our lawyers have represented many individuals in immigration court known as the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR). This is a brief introduction to the process, the eligibility standards and how one can best present their case in court.

What do I have to prove to the judge to obtain asylum?

In order to stay in the United States (and eventually permanent residency), asylum seekers must prove to an Immigration Judge that they have a “well founded fear” that they will be persecuted if they were forced to return to their countries of origin.

The applicant needs to demonstrate that he or she has a fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership to a particular social group.

What should be included in my asylum application?

• To obtain such protection from U.S. authorities, the asylum applicant should prepare an application known as I-589, and file it before an Immigration Judge.

• The asylum application should include declarations from the applicant and other witnesses and other detailed information as to why the applicant fears returning to his home country.

• All of the information should be true; otherwise, the immigrant can be accused of presenting a “frivolous” application, which carries serious penalties.

One Year Rule.

• The chances of obtaining asylum are greater if the application is filed within one year (365 days) from the applicant's entry into the United States.

• If this is not possible, then the applicant needs to demonstrate that the delay in the filing was due to extraordinary circumstances or that that the application was filed within a reasonable time after a change of circumstances that make the applicant eligible for asylum.

How long does the asylum process take?

• As of now, the asylum process in the Immigration Court takes approximately 6 months to 6 years, depending on the judge's calendar and the backlog in the courts generally.

• At the end of the immigration court case, a trial is held before a judge where the applicant is able to give testimony and present evidence favorable to his or her case.

• After the asylum applicant presents their case, the government's attorney is given the opportunity to convince the judge that the applicant is not eligible for asylum in the United States. Normally, the judge renders a decision at the end of such hearing.

• If the judge denies the request for asylum, the applicant may appeal the decision with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and thereafter before the federal Court of Appeals. During the time the appeals are pending, the applicant can remain in the U.S. legally.

• If the judge decides to grant the individual asylum, he or she can remain in the United States indefinitely. One year after being granted asylum, the applicant and their qualified relatives can apply for Permanent Residency.

More Information:

  • Immigration Court (EOIR)
  • Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)
  • Asylum (Kerosky, Purves & Bogue LLP)