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Asylum Defined

 Information on Asylum 

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Benefits of Asylum

Obtaining asylum comes with many benefits including:


Work Authorization - Those who are granted asylum are given work authorization. This means the U.S. government gives permission to work and make money in the United States.

Social Security Card - Asylees may apply for and receive Social Security numbers and cards. This card is a nine digit number issued by the U.S. Government. You will need this card number when opening bank accounts, apply for loans, purchasing a car, or purchasing a house. It is the most important personal identification number for those living in the United States.

Green Card - 12 months after you are granted asylum, you are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence status). Green card holders can generally do everything citizens can do except vote in elections and hold public office. Green cards holders may apply for citizenship after having a green card for 5 years (the first year as an asylum counts towards the 5 years).

Help Services - As an asylee, you may be eligible for benefits and assistance from your local Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) including medical help, English language help, financial help, and job placement help. To learn more about ORR, call 1-800-354-0365.

What is Asylum?

Asylum is a form of protection provided by the United States government to individuals that have a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, race, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. 

Every year, thousands of people from around the world come to the United States and apply for asylum in hopes of being approved and obtaining a green card. 

The persecution that the U.S. government is willing to protect asylum seeks from must be either carried out by the government of a foreign country or a group that the government is unable or unwilling to control. Persecution is a threat to life or freedom on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

Only people who are already in the U.S. may apply for asylum. It does not matter whether you came to the U.S. illegally, overstayed your entry, or entered legally and are still in valid status, anybody can apply for asylum as long as the above criteria is met. People who are granted asylum enjoy many benefits including work authorization, social security card, and eligibility for a green card.

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