Missed the 1-Year Deadline to Apply for Asylum?

October 26, 2015



Individuals who are interested in applying for asylum in the United States have 1 year from the date of their arrival in the United States to submit an application for asylum. If you arrived in the United States, but failed to submit your asylum application within the 1-year timeframe, you still may have other options for immigration benefits. You should contact an experienced immigration attorney at JRQ & Associates, LLC for a free immigration consultation to determine what your best course of action may be.


Withholding of Removal


If you believe that you qualify for asylum in the United States, you most likely also qualify for withholding of removal. Withholding of removal prevents the United States from returning an individual to his or her home country where the individual’s life would be threatened due persecution based on: race, religion, nationality, membership in an established social group, or due to one’s political opinion.


            The requirements for withholding of removal are similar to the requirements for asylum, but differ in several different ways. First, applicants for withholding of removal are not required to apply within the first year of arrival in the United States. Second, withholding of removal applicants must show that they more likely than not will be persecuted if removed from the United States back to their country of origin. Third, withholding of removal also does not allow you the applicant to submit derivative applications (petition for relatives that have fled your country alongside you). Withholding of removal applications are done on an individual basis, so if you are travelling with family, you will need to submit a withholding of removal application for each family member.


            The biggest difference between asylum and withholding of removal is that withholding of removal does not grant the applicant a right to employment authorization or a path to legal permanent residency (a green card). If you are granted withholding of removal, you also will not be guaranteed the right to return to the U.S. if you decide to leave the country in the future.


Recipients of withholding of removal must demonstrate good moral character during their time in the United States. The U.S. Government reserves the right to revoke your immigration status based upon receipt of a criminal conviction. Finally, a recipient of withholding of removal can have his or her withholding revoked if conditions in the individual’s country of origin have changed such that there no longer exists the possibility of persecution. For further information on withholding of removal, contact an experienced immigration attorney at JRQ & Associates, LLC for a free immigration consultation.


Convention Against Torture (CAT)


            The Convention Against Torture (CAT) is an international human rights treaty created by the United Nations (UN) in 1984. The goal of the Convention is to prevent torture and other inhumane acts, treatment, or punishment of citizens from around the world. The Convention prevents a country from returning or deporting an individual to his or her home country if the applicant is able to demonstrate any reasonable fear of being tortured in their home country. The Convention aspires to ensure the well-being of citizens from all countries.


Applicants can qualify for withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture if they meet similar criterion to asylum applicants. The applicant must be determined to be fearful of returning to his or her home country based upon persecution or torture in the past by either an organization or the country itself. The Government also requires that the applicant demonstrate that the applicant have a well-founded fear that the individual will continue to be persecuted if they are required to return to their home country. The torture experienced by the applicant, unlike with asylum applications, does not need to be connected to the individual’s race, religion, nationality, membership in an established social group, or due to the individual’s political opinion.


Finally, the applicant must demonstrate governmental acquiescence to the torture that the applicant experienced prior to fleeing his or her country of origin. Country reports, police reports, and news articles are normally used to prove acquiescence by the government because they are able to inform readers about the current conditions of the country. Similar to withholding of removal, the Convention Against Torture does not provide the recipient a right to employment authorization or with a path to legal permanent residency (a green card).


            The Convention and the U.S. Government define torture broadly. Torture can range from threats, inflicting harm, being arrested, being kidnapped, or being killed. The applicant must show more than just simple harassment to satisfy the torture requirement. Applicants who would qualify for asylum, but who have missed the 1-year filing deadline often are able to show that they qualify under the Convention’s standards with the help of an experienced immigration attorney. Contact an experienced immigration attorney at JRQ & Associates, LLC for a free immigration consultation to see if you would qualify for relief under the Convention Against Torture.

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