Asylum (filed in the U.S) and refugee status (filed from outside the U.S.) are special legal protections available to people who have left their home country for their own safety and are afraid to return. Once granted, both statuses allow you to stay in the United States indefinitely. You will get permission to work and can apply for a green card within one year of approval. Not everyone qualifies.
You must meet all of the following in order to qualify:
- You must apply within one year of your most recent arrival in the U.S., or within a reasonable time after establishing changed circumstances or extraordinary circumstances
- You have been persecuted (harm) in the past, and/or you fear persecution in the future. You must show past persecution, or at least a 10% chance of persecution if you return to your home country.
- The persecution you fear is on account of one of the five protected grounds.
- You must show that the abuse has been, or would be, inflicted by the government or by a group the government is unable or unwilling to control.
- You do not have an aggravated felony or “particularly serious crime.”
- You can show you deserve to receive asylum because of your good moral character.