How to Prepare for a Credible Fear Hearing


If you want to apply for asylum in the United States, you’ll have to go through a credible fear hearing. You may also hear this hearing referred to as a reasonable fear hearing. You cannot even fill out an asylum application until you go through this interview.

Asylum officers ask specific questions during these interviews. You may be asked to share:

  • Experiences of persecution, torture, or harm that you’ve personally experienced in the past.
  • Why you fear you will be persecuted or tortured in the future.
  • The specific people or organizations you fear.
  • Whether you’ve had any other experiences in any country that could place you at risk of persecution or torture.
  • Whether there is any chance you can safely live anywhere else in your country. You often have to show that you tried to go elsewhere in your country and continued to face persecution, harm, or torture. If a specific government policy that applies to the entire country is the source of your fear, then you may be able to side-step this requirement by explaining the law of your land. 

Your race, religion, nationality, political opinion, sexual orientation, gender orientation, disability status, or other protected status must usually motivate the danger you face. If the government was involved in your persecution, you should share that information. If they ignored you when you tried to report the crime or refused to help or protect you, then you should share that information as well. 

Asylum officers will not ask:

  • If you are a good person.
  • If you have plans to work hard or know how you’ll support yourself.

You need to tell the truth, but you can prepare by knowing what will be asked. This will help you organize your thoughts and give a concise answer that tells the asylum officer what they need to know. This can be difficult if you’ve already been detained, but try to do the best you can. 

You also have the right to ask for an interpreter so that the interview may be conducted in your preferred language. 

The asylum officer should read everything you said back to you. This is to give you the chance to correct anything the officer misunderstood or misrecorded. Do not let a mistake slide. You will not have another chance to repeat this interview, though you will have a chance to appeal the results. 

Most asylum seekers do not receive interviews the moment they enter the country. There is usually time to work with an immigration attorney and to get some help with preparation. 

There is good reason to do so. USCIS says roughly 40% of migrants fail to establish the credible fear required for asylum. Currently, officers are completing twice as many interviews per month as they did a year ago, and they’re doing so under much tighter rules. Those aren’t great odds if you’re going to go it alone.

If you know you have a credible fear hearing soon, reach out to Hykel Law to get help today. 

See also:

What is the Difference Between Asylum Status and Refugee Status

7 Documents You’ll Need for Your Asylum Case 



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