What is the Difference Between Asylum Status and Refugee Status?
Gaining residency under either status is not easy.
It’s important to know the difference between these two statuses to increase your chances.
You can be classified as a refugee if you have:
- Already fled your country of origin
- Have a well-founded fear of persecution
- Have applied for refugee status with an official entity
You cannot enter the United States until your application has been accepted and cleared for travel. This is one reason why many refugees find themselves stuck in camps for years.
The State Department prioritizes refugees in the following order:
- Individuals referred by the UN High Commission on Refugees, by a US Embassy, or by an NGO
- Groups of “special humanitarian concern.”
- Those with family in the United States.
The process of gaining admittance to the United States can take up to 24 months, and you must pass all the normal background checks, fingerprint verifications, medical screenings, and in-person interviews.
You are classified as an asylum seeker if:
- You’re fleeing your country of origin but have already arrived in the United States.
- Can demonstrate you have a well-founded fear of persecution.
- You request asylum on arrival.
- You apply for asylum status within one year of arrival.
While waiting for your asylum application to process, you are allowed to live in the United States and seek employment. Asylum may also be claimed as a defense against deportation. An asylum seeker also must pass the normal round of background checks, medical checks, biometrics, and interviews.
You may remain indefinitely until USCIS makes a decision about your case. However, your application may be terminated if USCIS finds that you no longer have a well-founded fear of persecution if you’ve obtained protection from another country, committed fraud or other crimes, or committed a criminal act.
Get Help With Either Status
While our practice sees more asylum-seekers than refugee seekers, we’re happy to help either class of immigrant, especially as minor mistakes can lead to denial.
If you’re trying to secure a green card because you’re afraid to return to your home country, contact Hykel Law today. We can help you gain your best chance of entering the United States successfully.
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Employment & Investment Visas
Although it often comes with controversy, immigration into the United States has always played a major role in the strength of its economy. Perhaps no one understands this more than the residents of Philadelphia, where the Liberty Bell still welcomes foreigners to one of the richest historical communities of our country.
Not knowing or understanding the system and laws of the U.S. can be a disadvantage for many foreign immigrants who wish to obtain permanent residency in the United States, either for themselves or for their loved ones. Hykel Law’s Family-Based Immigration Services can lead you through the complicated process to achieve either temporary or permanent residency, depending on your situation.
Are you afraid of deportation? If you are a foreign national involved in the beginning stages of removal proceedings, the deportation attorney at Hykel Law in Philadelphia can help prevent this unfortunate situation. We can evaluate your immigration case and find the best strategy to defend you from removal proceedings to help you stay in the United States.