Tag: asylum



In the complex landscape of immigration law, seeking asylum in the United States can take two distinct routes: affirmative and defensive asylum applications. These pathways represent crucial distinctions in the process of obtaining asylum status and navigating the intricate legal framework designed to protect individuals fleeing persecution in their home countries.


Affirmative Asylum Application Process

The affirmative asylum process is tailored for individuals who are not currently in removal proceedings. It involves proactively applying for asylum through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Applicants present their case to a USCIS asylum officer, detailing the circumstances of their persecution and the grounds for seeking refuge in the United States. If the asylum officer denies the application, the individual is then referred to removal proceedings, where they can renew their asylum request through the defensive process and present their case before an immigration judge.

Defensive Asylum Application Process

In contrast, the defensive asylum process is designed for individuals who are already in removal proceedings. These proceedings typically occur when individuals are apprehended in the United States without proper legal documentation or are found to be in violation of their immigration status. In the defensive process, asylum is applied for as a defense against removal from the U.S. Applicants submit their asylum application directly to an immigration judge at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) within the Department of Justice.

Access to Legal Representation

Regardless of whether individuals pursue affirmative or defensive asylum applications, they have the right to legal representation. However, unlike the criminal court system in the U.S., the government does not provide lawyers for individuals in immigration court, even if they are unable to afford legal counsel on their own. This underscores the importance of securing competent legal representation to navigate the complexities of the asylum process effectively.

Additional Forms of Protection: Withholding of Removal and CAT

Beyond affirmative and defensive asylum applications, there are alternative forms of protection available to individuals facing persecution in their home countries. Withholding of Removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT) provide avenues for safeguarding individuals from deportation in cases where asylum may not be granted.

Withholding of Removal offers protection to individuals who can demonstrate a likelihood of facing persecution if returned to their home countries due to factors such as race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. While individuals granted withholding of removal are not eligible for a green card, they are permitted to remain and work lawfully in the United States.

Relief under CAT is available to individuals who fear torture in their home countries. To qualify, individuals must prove that they are more likely than not to be tortured, either directly by the government or with the acquiescence of the government, upon return to their country of origin. This form of relief provides an additional layer of protection for individuals fleeing persecution and torture in pursuit of safety and freedom in the United States.

The affirmative and defensive asylum application processes serve as essential avenues for individuals seeking refuge from persecution in their home countries. Understanding the nuances of these processes, along with alternative forms of protection available, is crucial for navigating the complex landscape of immigration law and securing safety and security in the United States.



Embarking on the journey to asylum in the United States is a profound step towards freedom for those escaping persecution. This comprehensive guide navigates the intricate waters of asylum-seeking, shedding light on the vital connection between asylum and work permits for a stable future.

Asylum serves as a beacon of hope, providing international protection to individuals facing persecution in their home countries. To be eligible, one must meet specific criteria that demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Filing for asylum involves a meticulous process, encompassing the completion of necessary forms and the submission of compelling documentation that supports the applicant’s claim. Following the application, individuals undergo interviews to provide further insight into their situation, ultimately leading to a decision by immigration authorities.

The period between application and decision often entails a waiting game. Here, the importance of securing a work permit comes into play. Work authorization is a lifeline during this waiting period, granting asylees the opportunity to pursue employment and achieve financial independence while awaiting a decision on their asylum status.

Work permits serve as a pivotal tool for individuals granted asylum, providing them with the opportunity to achieve financial independence and contribute actively to their new community. However, it is crucial to understand the nuanced landscape of work permits, including both their advantages and limitations.

Financial Autonomy and Contribution:

  • Obtaining a work permit empowers individuals by allowing them to secure employment, fostering financial autonomy and enabling meaningful contributions to society.

Job Market Access:

  • Work permits open doors to a broader spectrum of employment opportunities, providing access to a more extensive job market, allowing exploration of various industries and professions.

Education and Skill Enhancement:

  • Engagement in the workforce often facilitates pursuing educational and skill enhancement programs, empowering individuals to develop their skills and competencies.

Social Integration and Community Contribution:

  • Beyond financial benefits, work permits play a crucial role in social integration, fostering a sense of belonging and shared responsibility, enriching the cultural diversity of society.

Duration and Renewal Challenges:

  • Work permits are subject to limitations, including duration tied to asylum status, requiring awareness of expiration dates and timely renewal to minimize disruptions.

Occupational Restrictions:

  • Work permits may come with certain occupational restrictions, necessitating an understanding of limitations on specific job categories or industries.

Dependency on Asylum Status:

  • The validity of a work permit is contingent upon asylum status, emphasizing the need for staying informed about changes to mitigate potential disruptions.

Navigating the landscape of work permits requires a comprehensive understanding of both the benefits they offer and the potential limitations they impose. Our legal team at Cambridge Immigration Law is dedicated to providing insightful guidance, ensuring that individuals granted asylum can make informed decisions aligned with their aspirations and contribute meaningfully to their adopted communities.

Eligibility to Apply for a Green Card as a Refugee or Asylee

If you were granted a refugee or asylee status by the US, 1 year after your entry to the US as a refugee or asylee you become eligible to apply for a green card/permanent resident status.

1 year after being admitted to the US, refugees are required by law to apply for a permanent resident status. Although the asylees are not required to apply for a permanent resident status 1 year after being granted asylum status in the US, you should consult with an immigration lawyer to see if applying for a green card is your best option.

2-Year Employment Authorization Now Available for Asylum Applicants

If you are an asylum applicant and applied for your employment authorization for the first time or renewing your existing employment authorization on or after October 5, 2016, the validity period of employment authorization is now increased from 1 year to 2 years by the USCIS.