Generally, the asylum law process is laid out in a compilation of laws, regulations and case law. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is the main source of law. Specifically, Section 208 of the INA describes the basics of asylum law. In addition to the laws, there are agency regulations on asylum which can be found in 8 CFR 208.
Applying for asylum is fairly straight forward if done correctly by an asylum expert. Below are the general steps in the asylum process:
- Using the help and expertise of an asylum lawyer, prepare your four part asylum application package (Asylum form, declaration, corroborating evidence, country conditions/human rights reports). Once complete, your lawyer will mail out the entire package to the correct USCIS address.
- After about 1-2 weeks, you will receive a Notice of Receipt letter from the USCIS.
- After another 1-2 weeks, USCIS will send you your asylum interview date and time notice.
- Generally, about 2 weeks later, you will attend your asylum interview.
- One week after your interview is complete, the asylum office will mail the decision to your address or you will be required to pick it up at the asylum office.
- If your asylum application is approved, you will receive work authorization along with other benefits. You may be eligible to apply for a green card after 12 months on continuous stay in the United States.
- Denials: If you are in the United States on a valid visa and in valid status (your I-94 has not expired) then you will receive a Notice of Intent to Deny in the mail. This is a letter from the asylum office stating why they intend to deny your asylum application. The asylum office will give you an opportunity to file a response and try to alleviates all of their objections.
If you are not in valid status (your I-94 has expired) and your case is denied, you will be referred to an Immigration Judge. This means you will be given the opportunity to present your asylum case all over again before an immigration judge. This process is a bit more formal and you should consult with an asylum lawyer for further information.