Application for asylum by legal immigrant after situation deteriorates at home

A lot of aliens enter the United States legally using a valid visa to travel or study or work but then things can change in their native country (this is a lot different than those aliens who escape their countries after things have become tough), as has happened in countries like Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Syria, and Ukraine in recent years.  While the United States Government often creates temporary immigration benefits to citizens of these countries (for example, some kind of temporary protected status or extending their visas without a fee -- read the USCIS website to find out what benefit you may receive), but if it is unsafe for you to return to your native country because you will be punished for your political or religious beliefs or if you will face hardship due to the war or natural disasters, seeking asylum is an option.

What benefits does an asylum provide?  While most asylum applications are denied, those that are approved allow you to live and work legally while your application is being processed.  If approved, you are eligible to apply for a green card in an year, and then for naturalization to a US citizen after five years.  Since there is enormous backlog in the asylum process, many foreigners are able to buy time to live legally in the US while their paperwork is pending.  After that, if their applications are rejected, they can return to their home countries with no negative consequences.  It is also tempting to explore the asylum route since there is massive fraud in the process under which applicants fabricate evidence and tell lies.  There are reports that despite a very low approval rate, most asylum cases are fraudulent.

Things to remember before seeking asylum in America
  1. Apply within one year of arrival in the US unless the American Government creates a special provision for citizens of a specific country.
  2. You cannot apply for asylum in the US if you legally entered another country prior to arriving in the US.  So if you took a vacation in a European country before coming here, it is expected that you should have applied for asylum there and you are telling a lie that your life is genuinely under threat -- it will be assumed that you basically are lying to find a way to stay in the US.
  3. Hire an excellent attorney who specializes in asylum applications.  Do not try to file the application yourself even if you think you are very smart and have excellent education in another field.  Unlike most other applications to the USCIS, asylum cases are extremely complex and are better left to the lawyers who know what to do.  If you do not have the financial means to pay an attorney, get a loan from a friend or family member but don't try to cut corners by filling the application yourself.

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