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United States
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The U.S. portion of the site is maintained by the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago.

The United States has signed the Geneva Convention of 1951 and accepts approximately 100,000 refugees and asylum seekers each year from countries around the world.

The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (a division of the Department of Homeland Security) considers each application for asylum. Applicants in the United States but not in removal proceedings must file an application with the appropriate BCIS office. There is a one-year filing deadline from the date of arrival in the United States. Individuals in removal proceedings must assert their right to asylum as a defense to being removed from the country. A flowchart explains this process.

Every applicant is entitled to a full evidentiary hearing before a US Immigration Judge on the merits of his or her case. As in other countries, legal assistance in the preparation and presentation of a case has a significant impact on an applicant's chances for success.

CRITICAL PRACTICE UPDATE: Effective April 1, 2008, proceedings in U.S. Immigration Courts will be governed by a new set of national practice rules. You can access the rules at the EOIR website or download them here. The entire set is 11.5 MB and will take several minutes or longer to download.

Quick links:
Asylum Training Manual for Attorneys
Asylum Training Presentation for Attorneys)
I-589 Form (main asylum application)
Credible Fear lesson plan (INS)
One-Year Bar lesson plan (INS)

  Asylum Training Manual
  BCIS, BIA, ICE, and EOIR Guidelines and Manuals
Local Rules for EOIR Court added 1/2004
The basic asylum application is the form I-589. It is available both here at and at the USCIS site. A few of these forms may be filled out on the computer, but you must have Adobe Acrobat (not Acrobat Reader) software to save the entered information. Acrobat Reader can be downloaded for free at Adobe Acrobat can be purchased from the same site.
  Judge Decisions in Asylum Cases 2000-04
NEW! Comprehensive statistics for every asylum decision between January 2000 and August 2004. Sortable by city in which asylum is sought AND country of origin. NOTE: be patient. The page may take a moment to load.
Case law and statutory law.
Key sites relating to asylum in the United States.
  Low-Cost Legal Representation List
Index of agencies that provide low cost (or free) representation to asylum seekers, provided by the EOIR.
  Other Forms of Relief
Information on alternatives to asylum, including the Convention Against Torture, Temporary Protected Status, and T Non-Immigrant Status (for victims of trafficking).
  Post-Asylum Benefits
Once a person has received a final grant of asylum either from an Immigration Judge or an Asylum Court, they are eligible to receive a variety of services which can help them adjust to life in the United States, find work, travel and become financially stable. Asylees should contact a Refugee Resettlement Agency in their state for help obtaining these services and/or refer to the "Guide to Benefits and Services for Asylees and Victims of Trafficking".
  Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Sample consent request and documents in support of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) for immigrant minor who is in actual or constructive federal custody.
  Training, Tutorials, Law Review Articles
Comprehensive information on how to prepare and present an asylum case in the United States.
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