Asylum Lawyer in Houston Providing Legal Support and Guidance
Having to leave your home country is difficult under any circumstances, but for those who make the journey because of persecution, it can be even more traumatic. Asylum is an immigration option that can help you find safety and a new life. Find out more about asylum, what you need to qualify, and how an attorney can help.
If you need help seeking asylum or want to learn more about this option, contact the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon, PLLC in Houston. We’re here to help you understand if asylum is a possibility for you and guide you through each step of the process.
What Is Asylum in Immigration Law?
Asylum is an immigration option for those who are facing persecution or fear of harm in their home country and who are asking to stay in the United States as a means. To be eligible for asylum, the persecution or fear of harm must also be directly related to specific aspects. These include:
- Political opinion
- Association with a “particular social group”
Types of Asylum
The United States government has three ways to seek asylum:
- Affirmative asylum. Affirmative asylum is the term used for those seeking asylum who are not already facing any kind of deportation or removal proceedings.
- Defensive asylum. Defensive asylum is when someone is asking for asylum as a way to stop the government from removing them from the United States. If you are under any kind of removal proceedings, you would need to seek defensive asylum.
- Asylum after a credible fear determination. This type of asylum is a subset of defensive asylum. In this case, you would state that you are seeking asylum after removal proceedings have been started and that the reason for that asylum is fear of being persecuted or harmed if you were to return to your home country.
How Do I Apply for Asylum With Immigration Services?
To apply for asylum, you will need to fill out the proper forms and submit them to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. Which forms you need to fill out depends on what type of asylum process you are seeking. You must be either in the United States or at a port of entry when you petition for asylum, and you have to apply for asylum within one year of being in the country. To get help applying for asylum, contact an immigration attorney at Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon, PLLC.
Will I Need to Go Before an Immigration Judge?
Yes, if you are seeking asylum you will go before an immigration judge in at least one hearing. It’s also likely that you will need to attend an asylum interview. During this interview, you will need to be able to explain why you believe that you would be persecuted or otherwise harmed if you were returned to your home country.
This immigration court and interview process can be stressful and confusing, but an immigration attorney can help. They will be able to explain to you the process and what will be required of you while also acting as your legal representative and handling the paperwork and hearings for you.
Are There Any Restrictions While I’m Waiting for Asylum?
It can take months to years for an asylum application to be processed, and in the meantime, you may be wondering if you can work, travel, or go to school. And the answer is yes — with some restrictions. You are able to work while you’re writing for asylum status, but you will need to apply for employment authorization first. You can also attend school, but it’s important to refrain from doing anything like work-study or an internship that might violate your work privileges if you’re not authorized yet.
Those waiting for asylum can also move within the United States, as long as they update their address with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and haven’t been instructed to stay put. Traveling outside the country can be more complicated and is something you should talk with an immigration lawyer about before doing it.
Why Do I Need an Immigration Attorney?
The guidelines to seek asylum are very specific, and an immigration attorney can help ensure that you actually have a situation that qualifies for asylum before you go through the application process. If not, an attorney can help you understand what immigration options you may have to be able to come into the country legally. If you are currently facing deportation or removal proceedings and want to seek asylum as a defense, talk to an attorney as soon as possible, as there may be limited time.
Seeking asylum means you’ve already faced hardship and challenges, but you don’t have to go through the asylum process alone. Having an experienced immigration attorney by your side can ensure that you have the best chance of being granted asylum and have a full understanding of any alternative options. Get help today when you call Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon, PLLC in Houston at 281-606-0800.