If you are at a port of entry to the U.S. or are currently inside of the country, you may apply for asylum if you have been here less than one year. Two different types of asylum exist: One is affirmative asylum processing, and the other is defensive asylum processing. These people are not here illegally; they need to enter the U.S. because they can demonstrate that they have a credible fear of persecution in their countries.

It doesn’t matter how you came to the United States, and your current immigration status is not relevant. You must apply for this asylum within one year of entering the U.S. unless you can prove one of the following:

  • Your circumstances changed and affected your eligibility for asylum, or extraordinary circumstances made it impossible for you to apply for asylum on time.
  • You filed for asylum on time even though the circumstances described above were in place. Applying for affirmative asylum processing requires that you submit the Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal to the USCIS.

Defensive Asylum Processing

This type of asylum applies to anyone subject to removal from the U.S. It received this name because it is a defense against the removal process. To qualify, you must currently be in the process of being removed from the U.S. in immigration court.