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Asylum: The One-Year Application Rule and the Exceptions

Have you arrived in the United States within the last year and not applied for asylum?

If you have not applied for asylum yet, please note that the failure to apply within a year can lead to complex issues and a violation of the immigration laws of the United Sates. In a sensitive situation like this it is best that you speak to an attorney to assist in preparing and presenting your case.

It is prudent for you to note that asylum is a humanitarian gesture extended by the United States keeping in mind your inability to return to your home due to risk of persecution. Therefore, it is advisable to adhere to the asylum laws, as failure to respect deadlines can lead to deportation and removal.

If you fail to meet the one year deadline, an immigration attorney can help you file for exceptions to this one-year rule by explaining that your failure to file for asylum on time was because of “Changed Circumstances” or because of “Extraordinary Circumstances.”

“Changed Circumstances” refer to changes in conditions in your country of nationality or in your personal life. These would be changes in your circumstances that materially affected your eligibility for asylum.

“Extraordinary Circumstances” have been outlined by the regulations as follows:

  • Serious illness or mental or physical disability;
  • Legal disability;
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel;
  • The applicant maintained Temporary Protected Status, lawful immigrant or nonimmigrant status, or was given parole, for a reasonable period of time prior to filing for asylum;
  • The applicant filed an asylum application prior to the expiration of the one-year deadline, but that application was returned by USCIS as not being properly filed and then it was re-filed within a reasonable period after;
  • The death or serious illness or incapacity of the applicant’s legal representative or immediate family member. 

In either case you must still file your application within a reasonable time under the circumstances to be eligible for an exception.  If you speak with an attorney, he or she can evaluate the different factors in your case, carefully craft your application by highlighting the advantages of granting you asylum, meticulously prepare you for the asylum interview and step in for you at the appropriate moments. An attorney’s presence is critical and could make all the difference in getting you asylum in the United States.

Need Counsel for Immigration? Call Today!

Immigration law can be complicated, and this article does not exhaust all the circumstances surrounding the asylum one year rule. These issues can be extremely complex, and a single misstep could potentially lead to a deportation or other immigration penalties. If you have any questions regarding your case, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Call our law firm to consult with an immigration attorney today at: (949) 478-4936.