Asylum or Refugee Immigration

Asylum and Refugee Status: Common Paths to Immigration

The Department of Homeland Security's 2011 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics reports that there were 1,062,040 individuals granted lawful permanent resident status in 2011. Out of these individuals, 168,460 - or, 15 percent - were either refugees or asylum seekers. In addition to people who were given green cards based on their refugee or asylee status, 56,384 new people arrived in the United States as refugees, 44,583 of whom came from Asian countries.

If you are hoping to become a permanent resident and perhaps eventually a naturalized citizen of the United States, a Richmond, Virginia immigration attorney from Fayad Law, P.C. may be able to help you achieve your goals by petitioning for your recognition as a refugee or asylee. We serve clients throughout the world from our East Coast offices in Richmond and Fairfax, VA, as well as in Raleigh, NC.

Eligibility for Asylum Status

There are two different types of asylum: affirmative asylum and defensive asylum. The first type applies to cases in which an immigrant petitions for this type of relief within one year of arrival in the U.S., whereas the second is used in cases in which an individual needs to defend against deportation and removal actions. To qualify for asylum, you must be able to provide evidence that you fear that you would be at risk of torture or other types of persecution in the event that you were forced to return to your country of origin.

About Claiming Refugee Status

Although generally the same in terms of status, the major difference between the refugee and asylum processes is that an individual seeking to immigrate as a refugee begins the process while still abroad. A person seeking asylum must first be physically present in the United States to file a petition. Refugee petitions are approved on the basis that the individual's persecution is of special humanitarian concern to the United States and that the persecution is based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

Whether you are seeking asylum for yourself or are hoping to assist a loved one in claiming refugee status, we urge you to contact our office now for an initial consultation and to get the process started.