If you are in the United States, you may apply for asylum regardless of your country of nationality or current immigration status if you were persecuted or have a fear that you will be persecuted because of your race, nationality, religion, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
To be considered for asylum within the United States, you must:
- Be physically present in the United States (it doesn’t matter how you arrived) for less than 1 year from the date of your last arrival, unless you can show that you qualify for an exception to this requirement; and
- Demonstrate that you were persecuted or that you are afraid you might be persecuted because of your race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
You can include your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old on your application. You can do this when you file your application, or at any time before we make a final decision on your case.
If you are not eligible for asylum, you might be eligible for “withholding of removal,” which prevents the U.S. government from sending you to your home country during the time that your life or freedom may be threatened. You can ask for withholding of removal even if more than 1 year has passed since your last date of arrival to the United States. However, only the Department of Justice’s immigration court can grant a withholding of removal, and it does not include family members. For more information please visit our Asylum and Obtaining Asylum in the United States pages.
How to File
- Read the instructions for Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal;
- Complete and sign your Form I-589; and
- Provide all required evidence and supporting documentation.
If you are in removal proceedings, you may apply with an immigration judge from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).
If you were placed in expedited removal proceedings, you received a positive credible fear determination, and USCIS retained your case for further consideration of your eligibility for asylum in an Asylum Merits Interview, please visit our Asylum Merits Interview with USCIS: Processing After a Positive Credible Fear Determination page for information on the procedures that apply to your case. If this applies to you, you do not need to file a Form I-589. See the Form I-589 page for more information.
After You File
You will receive a:
- Receipt notice confirming we received your application;
- Biometric services notice, if applicable;
- Notice to appear for an interview; and
- Notice of our decision.
If we grant you asylum status, there is no time limit for the asylum status. However, we may terminate your asylum status for certain reasons, such as if you are convicted of certain crimes or if we discover fraud in your asylum application.
Forms and Fees
- Form I-589
- Find the fee information on Our Fee Schedule page.