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As most of our attorneys are immigrants themselves, our firm is intimately aware of the plight of persecuted people throughout the world. Martinez Manglardi attorneys have won asylum cases before U.S. Immigration Courts and Asylum Officers all across America. Lead Immigration Attorney Francisco Symphorien-Saavedra has successfully processed asylum cases for immigrants from nearly every country, including Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Honduras, Guatemala, Sudan, Eritrea, Turkey, Sri Lanka, China, Albania, Syria, Palestine, Egypt Honduras, and many others.

To apply for political asylum, immigrants must show that they would be at significant risk of severe harm if they return to their home country. Asylum may be granted to immigrants who have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Subject to a few exceptions, you must apply for asylum within the first year of your arrival to the United States.

Filing a basic asylum application may seem easy enough, but it is extremely important to understand that the fate of your asylum case depends on how you answer those initial questions.

Many immigration “notaries” or questionable processors will offer to help you complete the required forms, but they can charge a lot of money and give you little real help. Our firm will be happy to direct you to government sites where these forms are available for free. More importantly, we will help you understand the overall asylum process. You will consult with an experienced attorney who will make sure you have the best chance to win your case, instead of steering you down the wrong path.

The U.S. asylum system is bogged down by extreme backlogs. Asylum cases currently take 3-5 years to process, depending on where you live. Many of them will be forwarded to Immigration Courts to await a final hearing in another 2-4 years. It is important to understand these delays from the outset and be prepared for the challenges they present.

Generally, a case will proceed in three phases. First, you file a basic asylum application before U.S. immigration authorities. You will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment and issued a receipt notice, indicating your case is pending. After this, you will generally be able to file for a work permit at the 150-day mark after your case is received.

Second, after approximately 3-5 years, in most cases, you will be scheduled for an asylum interview. At this time, you will have to establish your reasons for filing an asylum application, and you must show that the dangers you alleged in your application continue to exist. You will also be required to show that the dangers exist throughout the country you fled. If the officer finds your testimony credible, he may approve your application. If the officer finds that your application lacks credibility, he will likely schedule you for a follow-up appointment to receive a written decision.

Third, if the officer finds that he is unable to approve your asylum case and your authorized period of stay has expired, U.S. asylum laws require that the officer forward your case to the U.S. Immigration Courts while issuing a “Notice to Appear.” This means that you are subject to removal from the United States, but it may take another 1-3 years for you to have your final hearing in Immigration Court. You will have to update your entire application and prove that you are still at risk for persecution in the country you fled. If you are not successful in proving your asylum case in Immigration Court, the U.S. Immigration Judge will issue a removal order against you.