Immigration Law in the United States is confusing, and can be a long and arduous process for applicants, and for those facing fear of persecution for various reasons in their country of origin, they may not have the time to wade through all of the red tape in order to immigrate to the United States. For persons who's lives are in danger in their home countries, applying for refugee status may be the best option. These vulnerable individuals may have
For legal advice for your immigration journey, contact the Law Offices of Jason A. Dennis. As an experienced immigration attorney, Jason Dennis provides legal assistance to hopeful immigrants, refugee clients, and those seeking political asylum or refugee status in NYC.
What Is Refugee Status?
Refugee status is an immigration status that allows those seeking asylum in the United States to expedite their immigration process so that they can relocate to the United States as soon as possible. These persons might still be located in their home country, or located in another country, but fear returning to their home country.
These fears can stem from a range of various social topics, but must fall under racial, political opinion or leaning, religious, social, or nationality based fears. This means that the person must fear for their life under persecution, not because they have committed a crime and are facing charges. The fears also must be founded. For example, at time of writing, the new Taliban-led Afghanistan government is persecuting those who do not follow Islam.
This means that Afghani-nationals who fear religious persecution (Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, etc) qualify for refugee status on a basic level, and this can also apply to Afghani-nationals who are facing prosecution for their political opinions in the light of the political take over by the Taliban.
Do I Qualify for Refugee Status?
While proving your risk of prosecution and danger is the first step towards gaining refugee status, it is not the only requirement. Those seeking refugee status must also:
- Be located outside of the United States
- Have not already settled in another country via visas or refugee status
- Must be eligible to immigrate to the United States under normal conditions
These rules can be tricky for some, especially those that have already fled their home countries. If you have already applied for and been granted refugee status in another country that is not your home country or the United States, you will not be eligible to apply for refugee status in the United States, as you have already immigrated to another country and no longer have a well-founded fear of danger.
How Do I Apply for Refugee Status?
Refugee and asylum applications can be confusing, and it is important that applicants get everything right on the first try, since time is of the essence. Your first step should be contacting and hiring an experienced immigration and refugee attorney. Having someone with experience on your side, such as Jason A. Dennis, will guarantee that your application is sent in correctly the first time.
The next steps are getting in touch with the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) or USRAP (United States Refugee Admissions Program) office to state your intents to apply for refugee status. You will then need to contact the NYC U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to being your application. They will provide you with the proper forms to fill out, as well as make the final decision at the end of the refugee process to either accept or deny your application.
You will need to fill out the provided forms, which will include but are not limited to form I-590, form G-325c, and form FD-258 (fingerprints and background checks). You will also be provided with form I-34 that will need to be filled out by a financial sponsor who will be helping you when you arrive to the United States. Your financial sponsor can vary, depending on your circumstances. If you are seeking entrance as a religious refugee, for example, this could be a church that is sponsoring you, or even an individual person with the proper amount of funds.
You will then need to gather and submit all proof and evidence of the imminent danger you are in. This can include proof of your ties to your religion or political leanings, threats you have received, etc. The last step is an interview with the Immigration Services office before a final decision is made on your application.
Are There Alternatives to Refugee Status?
If you do not qualify for refugee status, that does not mean you cannot immigrate to the United States. Trafficking victims who are already located in the United States are eligible for T non-immigrant status if they agree to work with law enforcement to the best of their ability in regards to those who trafficked them. This status will allow them to stay up to 4 years in the United States, and they are allowed to apply for permanent residence or visas to stay longer.
If you are already in the United States but qualify at every other point for refugee status, you can submit an application for asylum. This is a good option for persons who have escaped persecution in their country of origin by heading to the United States, but have no visa or way to enter to the United States. Unaccompanied minors can also apply as asylum seekers, even if there are immigration proceedings against them already, as long as they do not have an adult located in the United States that can take custody of them or care for them. There are also special immigrant visas available that you may qualify for.
Today Is the Day
At the Law Offices of Jason A Dennis, we know that there is nothing more important for vulnerable immigrants than a quick and painless transfer into the United States. Jason A. Dennis is an experienced NY and dedicated immigration, refugee, and asylum attorney with a proven track record of doing everything he can to help his clients. If you are unsure of your refugee or asylum eligibility, or know that you are eligible and need help getting your application started or submitted, or have been rejected and need help, call our offices today.