Apply for Asylum in US

Before you begin the process of preparing the case for applying for political asylum, it will not be superfluous to understand all the stages through which you will need to go through and understand the necessary aspects which are inherent in each stage.

The first stage is writing history, filling out form I-589 and collecting all the necessary documents that will serve as evidence in your case.

The second stage is the formation of the case and sending it to the necessary USCIS office. After you have collected the necessary documents and formed the case, it will to be sent to your USCIS regional office.

The third stage is getting an invitation to biometrics. Approximately 10 days after the USCIS receives your case, you will be notified by mail that the case is accepted and you are invited to take biometrics (fingerprints and photos). You will be allocated 14 days, during which you must necessarily appear in the local office (whose address will be in the notification) and hand over fingerprints. If you ignore this invitation, or come later than the deadline, then consideration of your case for granting political asylum can stop.

The fourth stage – after you have passed the procedure of biometrics, there comes a waiting period for a call for an interview. In California, and in other states, immigration offices are very busy, so the queue is stretched for years. The law says that the call for an interview must be within 45 days. In fact, very rarely people wait less than a year, and in California, Los Angeles County, this period is delayed by 5.5 years (statistics for the end of February 2017). The fourth stage will be the call for an interview. For a month (sometimes for 2 weeks) before the appointed date, you will be notified where and when (the place, time and date) the alleged interview with the immigration officer will be indicated.

The fifth stage is the interview itself. The officer will study in detail all the facts described in the form I-589 and in your history, compare them with the evidence you provided, will ask hundreds of questions to verify the reality of what you wrote about in your history.

The sixth stage is approval of a petition. The approval of your case will not be made immediately, but, as a rule, will come by mail within a month after the interview. If it is approving, then you get refugee status in the US and a temporary Green Card, which after a year will become permanent. If the officer made a negative decision, the case automatically goes to court, where the judge will observe everything again, without relying on the decision of the immigration office.

Regarding advices in the formation of the case

  • All your documents must be clearly structured, numbered and stacked according to this numbering.
  • Write the title to the case, where indicate what is going on and why. To each document or group of documents, give your serial number and mark it directly in the folder with the papers.
  • All documents are desirable to be folded into one large folder, dividing them among themselves by special separation plates or in any other way. As a rule, for each group of documents, we select a separate folder, number it and add it to a large one, which already contains all the materials.

From what is the case for political asylum in the US consist of

Any case is a set of certain documents that will make up an overall picture of you, your situation, the situation with members of your organization and the situation in the country as a whole.

In a fully-formed case, such materials should be included:

  1. The first document that should be present in your case is the fully completed and signed form I-589. It is the most important and the main document, because it has clear and strict requirements for filling it. Also, do not forget that you need to attach your passport-style photo to this form (as you did for a visa in the US). If your spouse includes children, then they also need to attach a copy of this form (do not fill out a separate one, but make a copy with your data) by attaching one photo.
  2. The second document is a story written and translated into English. Do not forget that the officer will work directly with the history, so you do not need to fasten it with a stapler or some other way. The officer should be able to freely take the story out of the case and work with each sheet separately.
  3. The third most important document will be Country Condition. This is a very important part of the case, which will allow the officer to understand the state of affairs in your country at the moment and compare the reality of what you described with the fact whether this could happen in the country as a whole. Country Condition or Country Status Report is the publication of official human rights organizations, authoritative human rights organizations, reports from the US Department of State, etc.
  4. The fourth point is references and other evidence. If you have a lot of them, let’s say stories from the police, court decisions, calls for interrogations, medical certificates, certificates from a psychologist, documents from the tax service, etc., it will be expedient to separate each item.
  5. If you have testimonies of witnesses, then they should single out a separate item. Each testimony should be written in a free form, while certified by the name, surname, signature and copy of the passport of the person who gave this testimony.
  6. Photo and video materials are another component of the political asylum case. These materials must prove either your belonging to a certain group or event, or to depict some facts described in the story (photos of beatings, photos of destroying property, photo of threats written on your doors, etc.). Each photo must be signed on the reverse side, explaining what is depicted on it.
  7. Publications in the media. If you have materials that relate to you or your situation and were written about by the mass media, then they should also be attached to the case. More credibility will be authoritative media such as BBC, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Huffington Post, etc. But it is clear that such authoritative sources cover only very resonant cases, therefore, not everything can be found on the pages of these newspapers. Articles and photos from local sources will also work, but there
    will be less confidence in them.

Where do you need to send the case

USCIS Texas Service Center
Attn: Asylum
P.O. Box 851892
Mesquite, TX 75185-1892
If you are in: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Western Pennsylvania*, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, or Wyoming.

USCIS Nebraska Service Center
P.O. Box 87589
Lincoln, NE 68501-7589
If you are in: Alaska, Northern California (Any county in California or Nevada not listed above), Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Northern Nevada*, North Dakota, Oregon, Ohio, South Dakota, Washington, or Wisconsin.

USCIS California Service Center
P.O. Box 10881
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-0881
If you are in: Arizona, Southern California (California counties of Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, or Ventura), Guam, Hawaii, or Norther, Nevada.

USCIS Vermont Service Center
Attn: Asylum
75 Lower Welden Street
St. Albans, VT 05479-0589
If you are in: Connecticut, Delaware, Main, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Eastern Pennsylvania*, Rhode Island, Vermont.

Phone of National Customer Service Center: 1-800-375-5283
Phone for applicant with impaired hearing: 1-800-767-1833

How long to wait for a decision on your petition

The law says that you should be summoned to the interview within 45 days after the case is accepted by the USCIS. But this is only in the law, in fact everything is different.

Immigration offices are incredibly overloaded, so they cannot cope with the huge flow of applications. According to official statistics in California in March 2017 in the queue was 17,000 cases.

On average, a petition for political asylum in California (Los Angeles County) is waiting for an interview for at least 5 years, in San Francisco the waiting period is 2 years (statistics for the end of 2016). Of course, there are cases of a call in a shorter time, but they are more an exception to the rules than something permanent. Therefore, be prepared for the fact that interviews can be appointed no earlier than 2 years after the application for asylum has been submitted.

What benefits will you have while waiting for an answer

The law says that if you did not receive a call for an interview, or if the decision on your case is not made within 150 days after the documents are received by the USCIS, you have the right to complete and submit work permit documents and then you will already get the social security number SSN.

These two documents will give you the right to officially work in the US, enjoy all the delights of the banking system, feel freer in the United States. Also you can get a state ID and a driver’s license. In essence, you will have many rights and freedoms that are inherent in any US citizen (the feed of the right to vote, purchase of weapons and other exclusive rights inherent only to citizens or permanent residents of the country).