Sherman Oaks Asylum Attorney
Helping Imperiled Clients Seek Asylum in the U.S.
Asylum is a special class of immigration reserved for individuals who fear persecution in their home country that could be escaped if they remain in the United States. Asylum generally refers to individuals in these circumstances who are already residing in the country but are not citizens or lawful permanent residents.
One must apply for asylum status, which entitles you to indefinitely live and work in the United States and eventually enables you to apply for lawful permanent residency and citizenship. To successfully do so, you will have to prove you have a well-founded fear of persecution in your home country, which is not always easy to demonstrate. Our Sherman Oaks asylum lawyer Anaida Zadykyan can represent you throughout the process, assist in building your case, and help you explore all available legal tools that can result in a positive outcome.
- Related: Why Asylum is Important?
If you believe that seeking asylum might be necessary to your safety, do not go it alone. Call (818) 600-6322 or contact us online to request a free consultation with Zadykyan Law. We offer services in English, Russian, and Armenian!
Who is Eligible for Asylum Status?
To be granted asylum status, you will have to convince a United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) officer that you have a well-founded fear of persecution if you are returned to your home country. You will need to provide evidence in the form of documentation and testimony as part of a lengthy interview scheduled with USCIS officers.
Persecution is defined as a government’s intent to pursue and harm someone on account of one or more of several factors, including:
- Political beliefs
- Sexual orientation
- Any other social group with some common identity, such as women seeking political rights
Persecution can also be established in situations where there are organizations seeking to inflict harm on the grounds that the country’s government refuses to attempt to stop. Any intent to commit violent crimes, such as torture or rape, also qualifies if they are carried out on the grounds described above.
When Should You Apply for Asylum?
There are specific methods in which you are typically required to apply for asylum status. One route is to enter the United States lawfully through a nonimmigrant visa, such as a student visa or visitor’s visa, and then apply within the country within 1 year of your entrance. All noncitizens should apply for asylum within 1 year of your presence in the country, even if your continued presence after 1 year is lawful as part of your visa
Alternatively, you can inform border officials that you are seeking asylum at a port of entry. This subjects you to immediate asylum petitioning procedures, and it is unlikely you will be admitted into the country immediately; you are more likely be held in immigration detention until your case is decided.
What If I Have Been In the U.S. Over a Year?
If you are not a citizen or lawful permanent resident and have been in the country for more than a year, applying for asylum can be significantly more challenging. In these circumstances, you should strongly consider retaining legal services to help you approach USCIS about seeking asylum status. Successfully obtaining asylum in these situations is not impossible, as there are exceptions to the 1-year rule in which the applicant has experienced “changed circumstances” that justify the delay. For example, if you are Christian, and a new government in your home country declares their intent to prosecute and kill Christians, you would likely have grounds to seek asylum in the United States, even if you were present for greater than 1 year.
Continue scrolling below to learn about the differences between asylum and withholding of removal.
Some are confused by the difference between asylum and “withholding of removal.” Becoming an asylee is a powerful status, as it allows you to live and work in the United States permanently. This status also applies to any family that is with you in the United States and was included in your application. After a waiting period, you will have the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency and later U.S. citizenship, if you so choose.
Withholding of removal, while still useful, is more restrictive. You can apply for withholding of removal using the same application as asylum, and it is often explored in situations where you remained in the United States as a noncitizen for over 1 year.
You will have to prove persecution is “more likely than not” should you return to your home country on one of the protected grounds. If you are granted withholding of removal, you may be permitted to live and work in the United States or sent to a third country where there is no fear of persecution. You cannot extend that relief to your family, and you will not be able to become a lawful permanent resident or citizen. Still, there are situations where pursuing withholding of removal can be the best course of action, and our legal team can work to maximize its benefits.
An additional means to prevent deportation or removal proceedings is to utilize the Convention Against Torture. As the name would imply, the Convention Against Torture extends protections to those who fear they will be not only persecuted, but specifically tortured, by either the government of their home country or a group in that country that the government will refuse or be unable to stop. You will need to establish there is more likely than not a chance that you will face torture, under any circumstance, to receive the protections.
Convention Against Torture protections are similar to those of Withholding of Removal. You can be sent to a safe third country if the U.S. government determines you are not at risk of torture there, and you can also be returned to your home country if it is decided the threat of torture has ended. You will not be able to pursue lawful permanent residency or citizenship.
We Can Help Protect You if You Fear Persecution
If you are afraid for yourself and the lives of your family members, you deserve to have every chance to apply for asylum and similar protections. It can feel overwhelming and even hopeless to go up against a bureaucratic system alone, but our Sherman Oaks immigration lawyer can be the partner you need to fight for you in this trying time. We are well-versed in all areas of asylum law and can fight for asylum status, withholding of removal, or even Convention Against Torture protections – whatever keeps you and your family safe.
We take the time to listen, answer your questions and create a tailored strategy to accomplish your goals.
We care about our clients and go the extra mile to ensure every detail is taken care of throughout the process.
Affordable & Accessible
We offer free consultations through phone, video, WhatsApp & Zoom for your convenience and safety.
We offer same-day, after-hour, and weekend appointments to meet your busy schedule.
We serve our clients in English, Russian, and Armenian.