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The Asylum Officer will determine if you are eligible for asylum by evaluating whether you meet the definition of a refugee. The definition, which can be found in section 101(a)(42)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), states that a refugee is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to and avail himself or herself of the protection of his or her country of nationality or, if stateless, country of last habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The determination of whether you meet the definition of a refugee will be based on information you provide on your application and during an interview with an Asylum Officer.

The Asylum Officer will also consider whether any bars apply. You will be barred from being granted asylum under INA § 208(b)(2) if you:

  • Ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion 
  • Were convicted of a particularly serious crime (includes aggravated felonies)
  • Committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside the United States
  • Pose a danger to the security of the United States
  • Were firmly resettled in another country prior to arriving in the United States (see 8 CFR § 208.15 for a definition of “firm resettlement”)

You will also be barred from a grant of asylum under INA § 208 if you are described in any of the terrorism or security-related inadmissibility grounds at INA § 212(a)(3)(B) or (F).

For more information on bars to asylum, see “Bars to Applying and Receiving Asylum” and INA § 208(b)(2).

Last Reviewed/Updated: 
09/29/2008