When an immigrant first steps foot in the United States, it can be a frightening experience. However, coming to the U.S. may have seemed pretty easy compared to the circumstances an immigrant was facing in his or her homeland. Whatever the reason you have come to Colorado, you likely did so in hopes of finding new opportunities and a better life. However, this can only be accomplished if lawful status protects you from being removed.
If you came here expecting to seek asylum, you need to understand that it is not something the government will give to you automatically. You will have to meet certain eligibility requirements and before you can be protected under asylum.
If you genuinely and reasonably fear for your safety if you were to have to return to your homeland, you can request asylum as soon as you arrive at a port of entry. However, failing to do so will give you up to one year to apply for asylum on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website using an INS 1-589 form.
You may be considered an endangered refugee due to any of these factors:
Fear of persecution must be the reason for seeking asylum and you must be able to demonstrate that your persecutor will cause you harm for the above reasons if you return home. You can include your children and spouse in your petition.
Once you have made a request for asylum, you will then have to meet with an asylum judge or applicant. You will receive a notice in the mail telling you when the meeting is, as well as when you need to go for photographs and fingerprinting. When you have the meeting, you will be required to have all necessary documentation with you. An immigration attorney can help you be certain that you have all of the required documents and help you prepare for the meeting.
Once you have been granted asylum, you are protected from having to return to your home country and you may work in the United States. You may also apply for a Social Security number, travel overseas, and apply to bring family members to the U.S. As an asylee, you may also be entitled to receive certain benefits such as Refugee Medical Assistance or Medicaid.
One year after being approved for asylum, you can apply for lawful permanent resident status or a green card. After obtaining a green card, you will then be required to wait four more years before you can apply for citizenship to the U.S.
If you have left your country due to fear of persecution, an experienced immigration attorney can help you seek asylum so you no longer fear getting sent back to your homeland. The attorneys at Joseph & Hall P.C. have decades of experience offering assistance to immigrants when they need guidance the most. Contact them today at one of their Colorado locations and schedule a consultation.
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