Asylum

Houston Asylum Attorney

Compassionate and Experienced Asylum Representation Nationwide 

Many people come to the United States not just to join their family members or begin a new job, but to escape dangerous conditions or persecution in their home country. Like many other countries, the U.S. offers a form of protection called asylum, which is lawful status that eventually allows you to apply for permanent residence (a green card).

The Law Office of Ivan Neel is here to give your case the highest possible likelihood of success. I know you might be feeling a number of exhausting emotions, which is why I am ready to make this process as painless as possible for you and your loved ones.


Apply for asylum with my dedicated support. Call (832) 447-6748 or contact my firm online to schedule your free consultation. Serving clients nationwide in English and Spanish.


Eligibility Criteria for Asylum in the U.S.

Many people request asylum before entering the United States, but you may still be eligible for asylum if you entered the U.S. unlawfully. Asylum, in fact, is a common defense against deportation. If an agency initiates a removal proceeding because they discover your unlawful presence, you can request asylum and potentially avoid being removed from the country. This is called defensive asylum (versus affirmative asylum, which is when you request asylum before the government has initiated a removal proceeding).

To qualify for asylum, you must meet the international definition of a refugee, which is a person who cannot or will not return to their country of origin because they have been persecuted or believe they will be persecuted.

This persecution must be based on:

  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Religion
  • Membership in a particular social group
  • Political opinion

Additionally, you must apply for asylum within one year of entering the United States. Missing this deadline can prevent you from qualifying for asylum, even if you meet all other requirements.

Advantages of Obtaining Asylum Status

Asylum can be difficult to obtain, but the benefits are worthwhile.

With asylum, you can:

  • Work anywhere in the U.S.
  • Obtain a Social Security card
  • Petition to bring family members to the U.S.
  • Qualify for certain government benefits
  • Apply for a green card one year after obtaining asylum status

Once you become a permanent resident (green card holder), you can live and work permanently in the United States. You can even apply for citizenship after a certain number of years.

How To Apply for Asylum

To apply for asylum in the United States, you must follow a specific process. There are two main paths to apply for asylum: the affirmative process and the defensive process.

Affirmative Asylum Process

  • If you are physically present in the U.S. and have not been placed in removal proceedings, you can use the affirmative asylum process.
  • You must file your asylum application within one year of your arrival in the U.S. Begin by completing Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.
  • Along with your application, you'll need to submit a personal statement detailing why you need asylum and any supporting evidence.

Defensive Asylum Process

  • To avoid deportation while facing removal proceedings, you can apply for asylum.
  • You'll have to make your case in front of the immigration judge.
  • Your eligibility for asylum will be determined by an immigration judge.
  • In the event that the court rejects your request for asylum, you may also appeal the ruling.

It's crucial to consult with a Houston immigration attorney or accredited representative to navigate the asylum application process successfully, as it can be legally complex and may have significant consequences.

About The Asylum Interview Process

After you have submitted your asylum application, the following stage is usually an interview with a USCIS asylum officer. This interview is a vital step in the asylum process, and you should be prepared. Our expert asylum attorneys in Houston can walk you through the interview process, explain what to expect, and give you the support you need to present your case successfully.

During the asylum interview, you will be asked to provide detailed information about your background, experiences, and reasons for seeking asylum. It's important to be honest and thorough in your responses, as the asylum officer will use this information to determine your eligibility for asylum status.

How Long Does The Asylum Application Process Typically Take?

Initially, after submitting your Form I-589 (Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal), it typically takes a few weeks to receive a receipt notice from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Following this, you will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment, usually within a month or two.

The asylum interview is the next crucial step, and it is usually scheduled within 21 days of your biometrics appointment. However, due to huge case backlogs, these interviews are frequently postponed for several months, if not years. The exact timing is highly dependent on the volume and capabilities of the asylum office handling your application.

After the interview, a decision is typically made within 180 days. However, factors such as the complexity of your case, the need for additional evidence, or staffing levels at the asylum office can extend this period.

For those who are referred to immigration court, the process can take considerably longer. Court backlogs mean that it could take several years before a final decision is rendered.

Experienced asylum attorneys in Houston can help you out at every step, ensuring that all forms are accurately completed and deadlines are strictly observed, which may actually help speed up your case. Despite the potential lengthiness of the process, partnering with skilled asylum lawyers serving Houston can help you navigate the intricate immigration process and improve your chances of a successful result.

Can I Work in the U.S. While My Asylum Application is Pending?

Yes, you can work in the United States while your asylum application is pending, but there are specific conditions and steps you must follow. After you have been in the U.S. for at least 150 days following the submission of your asylum application, only then can you apply for employment authorization. This is done by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

You will be given an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which enables you to lawfully work in the US, once your Form I-765 is accepted. With the EAD, you can apply for and accept a job with any U.S. business.

Keep in mind that while your asylum application is pending, you must notify the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of any changes in your residence or contact information in order to receive essential updates about your case.

Working legally in the U.S. during the asylum process can provide you with stability and financial independence while your application is being reviewed.

Committed Legal Advocacy for Asylum Seekers

I understand how high the stakes may be for you and your family. This is why I am ready to serve as your zealous advocate, working tirelessly to achieve the best possible results on your behalf. The immigration system can be difficult to navigate, but I am here to restore your hope and confidence in the future. Let me put my skills, knowledge, and creative problem solving to work for your case. 


Ready to begin your asylum journey? Secure your future with our Houston asylum attorney. Call (832) 447-6748 or reach out online for a free consultation.


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