Seeking Asylum in California
In certain more immediate circumstances, individuals may seek asylum before working on a visa application. Aliens in California may seek asylum to remain in the U.S. if they face persecution in their home country for their:
- membership in a particular social group, and/or
- political opinion.
It does not cost anything to apply for asylum, and after 1 year, asylees may apply to adjust their status to become legal permanent residents via USCIS Form I-485.
A foreigner’s country of origin or current immigration status cannot prevent them from obtaining asylum, though they may be ineligible for asylum if they:
- were convicted of a serious offense (e.g., rape or murder);
- pose a security risk to the U.S; or
- had been firmly resettled in another country before coming to the U.S.
In California, foreigners may seek asylum for themselves and their spouse and/or children who are unmarried and under 21 years old. Asylum applicants must submit Form I-589 to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within 1 year of arriving in the U.S. The application process may require an interview with an immigration officer, and the whole process for obtaining asylum will take about 6 months.
Generally, asylees can remain in the country for as long as they need, though the USCIS can revoke asylum if the asylee:
- committed a deportable offense;
- obtained protection from another nation;
- committed fraud in order to receive asylum status; or
- no longer has a well-founded fear of persecution.
Call (949) 264-0323 for Help Today
If you seek to sponsor a foreign family member for an immigrant visa in California, or if you are interested in petitioning for asylum due to persecution in your home country, consult an experienced lawyer immediately for legal support in the application process. Family-based visas and asylum applications often entail interviews and legal documents like marriage certificates, and an attorney can better help you gather the necessary materials to petition for your family visa. Attorney Joyce Komanapalli Jones takes a personalized approach to her clients and will provide you the compassionate and reliable legal support you need to bring your family together in California.