How Can We Help?
If you're searching for an asylum lawyer in Chicago, IL, you're not alone. Many are looking for guidance in this complex area. Immigrants are seeking asylum in larger numbers than ever before. At the end of 2022, there were 1.6 million backlogged asylum applications.
For many people seeking asylum, they are confused about the process and fearful about having to return to their home country. You don’t have to go through the process alone if this is you or a loved one. A Chicago asylum lawyer may be able to help.
At Ibrahim Law, we have years of experience helping clients gain asylum. We understand the process and help clients have peace of mind throughout it. Our client's safety is our priority, so we work hard to ensure they do not have to return to a dangerous situation. We want to help you, too. Please contact our office at 312-767-8611 to request a free consultation.
HOW DOES THE ASYLUM PROCESS WORK?
For asylum seekers, the process is fairly simple. An immigrant applies for asylum and waits for the interview. This process can take months to years to complete. 180 days after filing the application, the applicant can request work authorization. Applicants are interviewed, and the USCIS officer determines if they are eligible or if the case requires further assessment. If not approved, then the case is sent to an immigration court. Defensive asylum applicants go straight to the immigration court step. Once someone is approved, that person and anyone else on the application is granted lawful status. They are also immediately eligible to work in the US. Those granted asylum can apply for a green card one year after approval.
Arrive in the U.S.
The first step to seeking asylum in the United States is to physically arrive in the country, either through a valid visa or by crossing the border. Individuals who express a fear of returning to their home country may be referred to an asylum officer for a credible fear interview. Those who have already entered the country must submit an application within one year of their arrival and attend an interview with an asylum officer. It is a complex and time-consuming process, but it provides a lifeline to safety for those who are fleeing persecution in their home country.
Contact an attorney
Contacting an attorney is a crucial step in seeking asylum in the United States. An experienced immigration attorney can offer valuable assistance and guidance throughout the asylum process, from preparing and submitting the asylum application to representing the individual in court proceedings.
Attorneys can help individuals understand the legal requirements for asylum, assess the strength of their case, and gather evidence to support their claim. They can also represent the individual during the asylum interview and in court proceedings, and help with appeals if the individual's asylum claim is denied. While individuals are not required to have an attorney to apply for asylum, having one can significantly increase their chances of success. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney can navigate the complex asylum system and provide crucial support during a stressful and uncertain time for the individual seeking asylum.
Apply for asylum
To apply for asylum in the United States, individuals must file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, with USCIS within one year of their last arrival in the country, unless they qualify for an exception to the deadline. Failing to meet this deadline may result in ineligibility to apply for asylum. The form should not include a fingerprint card or fee.
There are bars to applying for asylum, including not meeting the one-year filing deadline, a previous denial of an asylum application, or being able to be removed to a safe third country under an agreement between the United States and other countries. However, there are exceptions to these bars for "changed circumstances" or "extraordinary circumstances." Once the completed application is received by USCIS, the individual will receive an acknowledgment of receipt and a notice to visit their nearest application support center (ASC) for fingerprinting.
Fingerprinting and security checks
When applying for asylum in the United States, it is important to read the ASC Appointment Notice and take it with you to your fingerprinting appointment at the ASC. This notice will provide you with important information, such as the date, time, and location of your appointment, as well as any special instructions or requirements you need to follow. As an asylum applicant, you do not need to pay a fingerprinting fee, so you should not be asked to do so at your appointment.
If you are also requesting asylum status for your spouse and children who are with you in the United States, they will need to accompany you to your ASC appointment. This is because they will also need to have their biometric information (fingerprints, photograph, and signature) taken as part of the asylum application process. You should ensure that you arrive at the ASC on time and bring all necessary documents and identification with you to your appointment. For additional information on preparing for your biometric services appointment, you can visit USCIS's Preparing for Your Biometric Services Appointment page.
Complete an interview
To schedule an interview with an asylum officer, applicants may be directed to a USCIS asylum office or a USCIS field office, depending on their location. The interview notice will provide the date, time, and location of the interview. Asylum applications are scheduled based on the priority order, which includes rescheduled interviews, applications pending for 21 days or less, and other applications in chronological order. The workload priorities may impact scheduling of new applications within the 21-day period.
Applicants who are unable to proceed with the interview in English must bring an interpreter. Additionally, they may bring an attorney or accredited representative to the interview and witnesses to testify on their behalf. The interview may last up to one hour, and applicants must bring their spouse and children seeking derivative asylum benefits. For more information about the interview, applicants can visit the Preparing for Your Asylum Interview webpage. In case of an urgent interview request, asylum office directors may consider the request on a case-by-case basis if submitted in writing.
Final Asylum Decision
To be eligible for asylum, you must meet the definition of a refugee under section 101(a)(42)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). During your asylum interview, an asylum officer will determine your eligibility to apply for asylum, whether you meet the definition of a refugee, and whether you are barred from being granted asylum under section 208(b)(2) of the INA. A supervisory asylum officer will review the decision to ensure it is consistent with the law, and you will return to the asylum office to pick up the decision two weeks after the interview.
If you are currently in valid immigration status, were interviewed at a USCIS field office, have pending security checks, or have a case being reviewed by asylum division staff at USCIS headquarters, longer processing times may be required. USCIS will normally mail your decision to you in these situations. To check your case status online, you will need the receipt number that was mailed to you after you filed your application. Additional information about the affirmative asylum process is available on USCIS's Resources for Asylum Applicants page.
Types of asylum
There are different processes for applying for asylum. Someone already in the US would follow the affirmative asylum process. Those just entering the US and filing for asylum would follow the defense asylum process. Read more about each below:
People already in the US and not US citizens can usually file form I-589 to apply for asylum. The process is lengthy and backlogged due to COVID-19. Some people who reside in the US but are facing special circumstances cannot seek asylum through the form. This is why speaking to an immigration attorney may be helpful. They can help you understand your options. Contact us today at 312-767-8611 to schedule your consultation.
People unlawfully present in the US or attempting to enter without a visa can seek defensive asylum. This process is much more complicated. People applying for this type of asylum are usually detained for a period of time. Qualifying for asylum is much harder in these circumstances, so you may want to consider hiring an immigration attorney as soon as possible.
Who Qualifies For Asylum?
Asylum is what refugees claim when coming to the US. Refugees seeking asylum often flee their home country due to dangerous living situations. To qualify for asylum, a person must establish they cannot or will not return to their home country for one of the reasons listed. Seeking asylum means the person requests protection from the US so they do not have to return home. Once someone enters the US, they have one year to file for asylum. The most common reasons people seek asylum include:
There are many benefits of hiring an immigration lawyer when seeking asylum. Clients gain a compassionate partner with extensive legal expertise to help them through the process. They also have someone available to provide their legal options and help to protect their rights. Learn more about the benefits below:
Legal Support and Representation
An immigration attorney is an expert in asylum. They have helped numerous clients through the process. They understand how to file the form, so there aren’t delays. They can also help their clients to prepare for the interview and court proceedings.
Immigration attorneys provide invaluable services to their clients. They give them peace of mind and compassionate advice during a difficult time in their lives.
Immigration Law Expertise
An asylum attorney helps their clients file the petition for asylum. They are experts in immigration law and guide their clients in understanding their rights and legal options. Entering a new country while fleeing an unsafe situation is scary and uncertain. Attorneys offer their clients support during this challenging time.
Michael Ibrahim is the son of immigrants who fled their home country to find safety in the US. He understands the unique struggles immigrants face, especially those seeking asylum. He is well-versed in the process and is committed to helping as many people as possible.
Michael is fluent in five languages, including:
Michael offers immigration legal services for all types of situations. He helps clients with asylum, applications for residency, and citizenship. He is also experienced in deportation defense and the appeals process. No immigration matter is too large or small for Ibrahim Law. We want to help as many clients as possible resolve their immigration challenges while protecting their rights.
Immigration Attorneys In Chicago
Seeking asylum is a scary process. No one should be fearful of returning home. Nor should they have to. If you are seeking asylum, we want to help. As a dedicated asylum lawyer in Chicago, IL, Ibrahim Law has vast experience in helping people gain this status.
Ibrahim Law is an experienced immigration law office in Chicago that has years of experience helping people just like you with immigration matters. Our attorney, Michael Ibrahim, is an immigration law expert. He dedicates his time to helping his clients achieve freedom and peace by gaining lawful status in the US. He wants to help you with your asylum application. Please contact our office to request a free consultation.
"I see my parents struggle in all of my client's cases."
Frequently Asked Questions
After filing for asylum, many people are asked to complete an interview. During this, an agent from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services will ask them questions. The interview could be months after an application. It’s essential you do not miss the interview. Only those with valid reasoning for missing can request a new one.
Working with an asylum attorney can be very helpful before the interview. They help clients to prepare for the interview questions, which may include the following:
Why are you leaving your home country?
Why is your home country dangerous?
How did you get to the US? When did you arrive?
Basic questions about yourself (age, birthdate, address, etc.)
Have you applied for asylum in other countries?
Why do you seek asylum in the US?
Applicants granted asylum are immediately eligible to stay and work in the US. After living here for one year, they can apply for a green card. Applicants who gain asylum for themselves and their families must submit green card applications for each member separately.
Applicants applying for asylum must submit the petition one year after arriving in the US. This is the deadline for both affirmative and defensive applicants. Certain circumstances are the exception to the one-year rule, including:
New home country changes or crises
Changes in US laws
The applicant’s at a greater risk of returning since living in the US
Change in relationships (death of a parent, new marriage)
The applicant was an unaccompanied minor
The applicant couldn’t obtain effective legal counsel
Death of a family member or legal representative
We recommend you speak to an asylum attorney to understand your legal options and rights. We want to help, so please call us at 312-767-8611 to request a free consultation.
No, the asylum interview process does not provide interpreters. If applicants feel they cannot complete the interview in English, they must acquire an interpreter and bring them to the interview. They must notify the USCIS agency, who will interpret for the interview beforehand.
You may or may not need an asylum lawyer in Chicago, IL. Many factors go into an asylum case, and each person’s situation is unique. However, we strongly recommend you speak to an immigration attorney to understand your legal options. Most offices, including ours, provide free consultations. This allows you to understand your options better and make a more informed decision about whether you need an attorney.
The asylum process can vary in time. Some might wait a few months, while others could wait years. Due to a large number of applications, there's often a backlog, causing delays. Talking to an asylum lawyer can give you a better idea about the time frame.
Hear From Our
"One of the top immigration lawyers in Chicagoland. Michael Ibrahim is attentive, supportive, and knowledgeable. One of his best abilities is his availability. He responds to emails with attention and detail, often on the same day. Don't underestimate that in dealing with any immigration matter. He is personable; he does not simply collect fees and treat you like a client but rather like a friend. Your success is his success, and he understands that. If Michael were a surgeon, accountant, or another lawyer in any other field. I would want him. You cannot replicate him.." -Yousef S.
"My wife and I are very thankful for Micheal Ibrahim. Before we hired him, we approached many immigration lawyers over ten years to duplicate documents that were destroyed in a fire. The results were disappointing. Micheal was able to find the lost documents. My wife got her permanent residency. He was always available for us during a stressful time. We would like to thank Michael for his knowledge, professionalism, and expertise. We would definitely recommend Michael for immigration services." -Farzad D.
"Michael took over my case, which had been in immigration proceedings for many years, and I am so glad that he did. He is very professional, kept my husband, and I informed of every step of the process, and gave us the most honest and beneficial advice! Highly recommended for anyone who is in need of a great immigration attorney! Thank you again, Michael!" -Nida F.