Every year people come to the US seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Political opinion

You may file an asylum application only if you are physically present in the US and are not a US citizen. To apply for asylum affirmatively or defensively, file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year of your arrival to the US. There is no fee to apply for asylum.

Affirmative asylum applicants may not file an online Form I-589 if they:

  • Are in proceedings in immigration court or before the Board of Immigration Appeals;
  • Are an unaccompanied alien child and are in removal proceedings;
  • Are among the categories of applicants who must currently file by mail with the Asylum Vetting Center;
  • Already submitted Form I-589, which is still pending with USCIS.

If you are eligible for asylum, you may be permitted to remain in the US. You may include your spouse and children (must be under 21 years old and unmarried) who are physically present in the US as dependents on your affirmative or defensive asylum application at the time you file or at any time until a final decision is made on your application.