What is asylum?

Asylum is a form of protection that allows an individual to remain in the United States rather than be removed (deported) to a country where he or she fears persecution or harm. People who flee their countries for fear of persecution can apply for asylum in the United States. If they are granted asylum, they are given protection and the right to stay in the United States. Asylees are those who are granted asylum.

Political asylum waiver

Many applicants seeking political asylum waivers have experienced extreme deprivation, severe abuse, and possibly even torture in their home countries. Frequently, these mistreatments are related to political, religious, or ethnic persecution. Living in your home country becomes so intolerable that you flee to the United States and apply for political asylum.

How Does Asylum Help People Fleeing Persecution?

A person granted asylum is protected from deportation to his or her home country, is allowed to work in the United States, can obtain a Social Security card, may request permission to travel overseas, and can petition to bring family members to the United States. Asylees may also be eligible for government programs such as Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance.

An asylee may apply for lawful permanent resident status (a green card) after one year. Once an individual becomes a permanent resident, he or she must wait four years before applying for citizenship.