What Is Affirmative Asylum?
The two ways of obtaining asylum in the United States are through the affirmative process and defensive process. To obtain asylum through the affirmative asylum process you must be physically present in the United States. You may apply for asylum status regardless of how you arrived in the United States or your current immigration status. This should be within one year of date of entry. An affirmative application (I-589) is filed with USCIS. Unless you can show changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility or extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing and that you filed within a reasonable amount of time thereafter.
Who qualifies for Affirmative Asylum?
A person physically present or arriving in the United States, who expresses a fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality or membership in a particular social group and/or political opinion, is eligible to apply for a discretionary grant of asylum and eventually to adjust his/her status as a lawful permanent resident.
What are the benefits of applying under this visa category?
One of the benefits of the asylum is that one may apply for employment authorization if 150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application and no decision has been made on your application. If you are granted asylum, you may work immediately. In addition, an asylee may also apply to bring immediate relatives to the U.S. as derivatives who may also receive employment authorization.
How can an attorney help in this process?
Asylum applications are very challenging. A qualified immigration attorney will be able to assess if the application will have the appropriate documentation to meet the criteria under this category. Even in cases where a petition includes the necessary documents and evidences, these documents and evidences must be presented in a logically organized format, so that the immigration officer reviewing the case is led to make a favorable decision. Knowledge of what the immigration service or department of state anticipates to receive from the applicant is vital to success.