Asylum status may be granted to people inside the United States who are unable or unwilling to go back to their home country because of a well-founded fear of persecution due to their (1) race, (2) religion, (3) nationality, (4) membership in a particular social group, and/or (5) political opinion. Las Vegas Nevada Immigration Court hears hundreds of asylum cases every year.
Update: February 11, 2021 — U.S. to start processing asylum seekers waiting in Mexico
On February 19, 2021, the Biden administration will start processing some asylum seekers who are waiting in Mexico due to Trump’s policy that barred them from residing in the U.S. while their cases were being reviewed. Read the Wall Street Journal article.
Update: June 25, 2020 — Rejected asylum seekers may not object in court
The Supreme Court declared it constitutional that the federal courts have limited ability to review decisions where asylum seekers are being deported. Read the New York Times article.
Update: April 29, 2019 — Trump wants to impose fees to asylees
President Trump wants to impose application fees on immigrants seeking asylum, and he gave his administration 90 days to implement this new policy. There has been immense push-back from activists, and it is unclear whether these new fees will be actually imposed. Read the New York Times article.
Update: June 11, 2018 — limited asylum for domestic and gang violence
On June 11, 2018, the Trump administration announced a new United States asylum policy: Immigration judges generally cannot consider domestic and gang violence as grounds for asylum.
Asylum applicants based on these grounds now have a much harder time proving that their government is unable and unwilling to protect victims.
Below our Las Vegas asylum attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about asylum status in Nevada. Click on a topic to go directly to that section.
- 1. Can I get asylum in Las Vegas, NV?
- 2. How do I get asylum in Las Vegas, NV?
- 3. How long does it take to get asylum?
- 4. How long can I keep asylum status?
- 5. What does it cost to get asylum?
- 6. Can asylees get green cards?
- 7. Can whole families get asylum?
- 8. Can asylees work?
While many people use “asylee” and “refugee” interchangeably, they mean two separate things. See our article on Nevada refugee laws. For other ways to obtain immigration status, see our articles on deferred action in Nevada, provisional unlawful presence waivers, and VAWA in Nevada.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant a foreigner the status of asylum in Nevada if the individual:
- meets the definition of refugee (which means he/she has a well-founded fear of persecution in his/her home country due to his/her race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group membership); and
- is currently residing in the U.S. or is requesting admission at a port of entry
So if a foreigner under persecution in his/her home country somehow makes it to safety in Las Vegas, he/she may request asylum while still living in Nevada. Upon determination that the individual is eligible for asylum, he/she will be allowed to remain in the U.S.
Note that domestic and gang violence are not currently grounds for asylum. (See Elliot Spagat The Associated Press, “Sessions says domestic, gang violence not grounds for asylum in US“, Las Vegas Review-Journal (June 11, 2018).
Note that an alien’s eligibility for asylum status has nothing to do with his/her current immigration status or his/her country of origin.
To begin the application process for asylum status, the foreigner is required to submit a Form I-589 to the USCIS within the first year of his/her arrival in the U.S. The foreigner may also have to attend an interview. Las Vegas Immigration Court has jurisdiction over asylum cases in Nevada.
About six months.
Asylum grants do not have a definite expiration date, but the USCIS may terminate asylum if the asylee either:
- committed deportable offenses
- obtained another country’s protection
- perpetrated fraud to get asylum in the first place, or
- no longer has a well-founded fear of persecution
Similar to a refugee application, there is no fee required for an asylum application.
If granted asylum, an individual may be qualified for a green card after one year. The proper document is USCIS Form I-485, and individual forms will need to be completed for each family member that has received derivative asylum based on the individual’s initial case.
When applying for asylum, an individual may incorporate his/her husband or wife and any kids who are in the U.S. But note that the children must be under 21 and unwed.
Applying for asylum status does not immediately authorize the person for employment. While an individual applying for asylum may be eligible for employment, it is a separate process and requires separate documentation (USCIS Form I-765).
Call a Nevada immigration attorney…
If you are seeking asylum status in Nevada, contact our Las Vegas immigration attorneys right now for a consultation. Our attorneys are also at the forefront of fighting for LGBT legal rights in Nevada and can assist clients seeking asylum because of persecution based on sexual orientation.
For non-citizens in California seeking asylum, see our article on California asylum attorneys.