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How hard is it to get asylum in the United States?

If you escape a turbulent and dangerous country, you may seek asylum in the United States. In the current political climate, immigration has taken center stage as those trying to enter the country get detained, while those living here without proper documentation live in fear or getting expelled.

Looking for asylum in the United States does not guarantee a pathway to citizenship. How hard is getting a grant of asylum?

What is asylum?

Those trying to gain entry via asylum claims typically fall into a persecuted group and usually hail from a handful of countries. A judge may hear your request if you can prove you fall into a particular category:

  • A child forced into fighting as a soldier
  • A homosexual
  • A transgender
  • A victim of human trafficking or slavery

The above list is not all-inclusive, and if you believe you fall into a vulnerable class, you may still file for asylum.

What is the process?

The first step in seeking asylum is stating the where and why you need it. The next step is usually the most difficult: proving it. An immigration judge will ask you a series of questions for which you may have to provide proof. If you have documentation such as photographs, news articles and third-party nonrelative witnesses, your claim holds more weight. If you tell the authorities you need help, but cannot prove why you need it, your case may be rejected.

What happens if authorities reject your case?

Your hearing will happen before a judge who will determine whether to grant or reject your application. If you receive asylum, you will receive further instructions on how to proceed with a temporary or permanent citizenship course and exam. However, if authorities reject your case, you will need to return to your country of origin. You can try to appeal, but that process can only take place after your deportation.

Becoming a U.S. citizen may appear impossible. If you have experienced hardship in a country known for difficult circumstances and you can prove it, you may receive asylum. If not, you may want to try to become a naturalized citizen another way.

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San Francisco Office
555 California Street
Suite 4925
San Francisco, CA 94104

Phone: 415-819-1898
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Sacramento Office
500 Capitol Mall
Suite 2350
Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: 916-719-2805
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Oakland Office
1999 Harrison Street
18th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

Phone: 510-637-8608
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San Jose Office
2570 N. First Street
2nd Floor
San Jose, CA 95131

Phone: 408-306-1818
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Santa Rosa Office
3558 Round Barn Boulevard
Suite 200
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Phone: 707-805-0898
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Walnut Creek Office
2121 N California Boulevard
Suite 290
Walnut Creek, CA 94956

Phone: 925-330-1132
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Redwood City Office
303 Twin Dolphin Drive
Suite 600
Redwood City, CA 94065

Phone: 650-670-2545
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