Those forced to leave their country in order to seek safety from harm, also known as refugees, can seek asylum in the United States. Asylum seekers qualify for this immigration status so long as they can establish themselves as a refugee who has undergone harm or persecution in their country due to one’s nationality, political affiliation, race or identity.
In order to achieve asylum status, refugees must apply through the US courts system through a series of steps.
As asylum seekers prepare to submit an official application with the courts, they should prepare to provide documentation to support their case. This includes:
- Identity cards
- Travel documents
- Birth certificates
- Medical records
- Draft applications
- Useful documentation of home country’s conditions
Primarily, the courts will need proof of an asylum seeker’s identity in order to properly process an asylum application. As well, an asylum seeker cannot be subject to any bars to asylum, which include known persecution of others, conviction or commission of certain crimes, past terrorist activity or previous asylum denial.
Asylum seekers must fill out and submit a form I-589 within one year of their arrival in the United States. As well, it is helpful for those seeking asylum to provide supporting evidence or testimony of their persecution, often in the form of police records, witness testimony, medical records, affidavits or expert reports on the dangerous conditions in one’s home country.
It is also helpful to include positive proof of community involvement, family ties, volunteer work or proof of education to bolster an asylum application.