Asylum Based on Nationality

Are you a foreign citizen who came to the U.S. following fear of persecution in your home country because of your national or ethnic affiliation? You may be able to seek asylum based on nationality. Nationality-based asylum often involves factors like religion, culture, and political opinions.

Learn more about the process of applying for asylum on the grounds of nationality.

Who May Qualify for Asylum Based on Nationality?

You may qualify for nationality-based asylum if you can prove you’re a refugee in one of the following situations:

  • Your home country harbors conflict between several ethnic or national groups, with consistent persecution of the group you belong to
  • You’re part of a national minority or a disadvantaged group that has experienced persecution in the past
  • You have reasonable grounds for fearing persecution by a dominant group or the government in your country of origin
  • You have already suffered direct harm because of your nationality

What Counts as Persecution Under Asylum Laws

So, what does immigration law define as persecution grounded in nationality? Generally, persecution that could grant you asylum based on nationality would be significant, consistent oppression and mistreatment because of your national origin. Persecution doesn’t necessarily include physical harm.

Persecution on national grounds may involve:

  • Threats to your life and/or freedom
  • Direct, systemic discrimination or ill treatment
  • Rape, sexual assault, or custodial interrogation
  • Forced medical examinations

Additionally, you must show that the government in your home country is unwilling or unable to protect members of your national group.

Applying for Nationality-based Asylum

Applying for asylum in the U.S. starts with filing an Application for Asylum (Form I-589). This form requires no filing fee. You may include your eligible family members (spouse and unmarried children up to 21 years old).

USCIS typically takes several months to process asylum applications. During this time, you may qualify for employment authorization by filing Form I-765, but no earlier than 150 days after submitting your asylum application. 

USCIS will typically issue a decision on your application for asylum within 180 days after an in-person interview. If you successfully gain asylum, you may file Form I-485 to apply for a green card after one year.

Why Applications for Asylum May Encounter Denial

It’s often hard to prove persecution on the basis of nationality, especially if your life or freedom aren’t under an obvious and immediate threat. Moreover, approval or denial of your request for asylum may depend on the discretion of the asylum officer handling your application.

Because applying for asylum is a complex legal process, it’s crucial to work with an experienced, competent immigration attorney who will help you present compelling evidence of persecution and ensure your application meets USCIS requirements.

The American Dream Law Office Can Help You Seek Asylum in the U.S.

Not sure whether you qualify for asylum based on nationality? Contact the American Dream Law Office. Attorney Ahmad Yakzan will examine your eligibility criteria, guide you through the asylum application process, and help you prepare for an asylum interview.

Call 1-866-366-1039 or schedule a strategy session online.

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