Virginia Asylum Lawyer

The United States government may grant protection to foreign nationals in Virginia who do not wish to return to their home country due to fear of persecution. Those who seek to escape persecution in their home country and are present in the U.S. may be granted refugee status in the U.S., this is called asylum. However, it is essential to follow proper procedures for a request for asylum in order to be granted this benefit.

Individuals who are granted asylum are permitted to live and work legally in the U.S. and may apply for permanent status after fulfilling certain residency requirements.

A Virginia asylum lawyer may help with the process. An accomplished immigration lawyer who understands the procedures involved can help you protect your rights and advocate on your behalf as you work toward your goals.

Persecution Must Be Based on Certain Specified Factors

To be eligible for asylum, noncitizens must be facing persecution based on certain features about themselves or due to their political opinions. Specifically, if not based on political factors, the persecution must be based on the applicant’s race, religion, nationality, or “membership in a particular social group.”

The last category, membership in a particular social group, can be difficult to interpret and apply. Court rulings have held that members of such a social group share a trait that is common and either cannot be changed or is so fundamental to a person’s identity that a person should not be required to change it. Gender is a trait that can satisfy this criterion. Sexual orientation has also been held to be another such trait. A case can be made for other traits to qualify as well.

How to Seek Asylum

The government provides two ways to seek asylum. One process is referred to as the affirmative process because, through this process, noncitizens bring their plight directly to the attention of authorities and ask for asylum status by filing Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. This form does not require the payment of a fee; however, it should be filed within one year of the time the individual arrives in the U.S. The applicant may include their spouse and unmarried minor children on the application.

The defensive process applies when a noncitizen seeks asylum to avoid deportation during removal proceedings. Sometimes an applicant who is not granted asylum through the affirmative process may be placed in the defensive asylum process and referred to an immigration judge.

While the affirmative asylum process is treated as an administrative proceeding with an interview, the defensive asylum process is handled in an adversarial manner like a courtroom trial. In this scenario, the individual seeking asylum is pitted against an attorney from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the judge hears arguments from both sides before deciding whether to grant asylum. For help with this process, reach out to an asylum lawyer in Virginia.

Let a Virginia Asylum Attorney Assist You

Whether a noncitizen is seeking asylum through the affirmative process or the defensive process, an attorney may provide legal representation to help ensure that all available arguments are put forth persuasively.

A dedicated Virginia asylum lawyer with extensive experience handling asylum cases can explain the reasoning applicable to your case that can bring about a positive outcome.

An attorney can also advise you as to whether it is best to start with the affirmative process in your situation. To learn more about how to protect your rights and take advantage of the opportunities offered through asylum, call now for a consultation.