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Understanding Asylum in New York: A Comprehensive Guide for Seekers (2024)

Understanding Asylum in New York: A Comprehensive Guide for Seekers (2024)

New York is a deeply diverse and economically successful state in which to start a life, pursue a career, or ultimately grow a family. Many individuals who are fleeing adverse conditions in their countries of origin, such as war, persecution, violence, famine, and other severe dangers, seek to come to the state to pursue a better life. If you are an asylum seeker in New York, an experienced New York asylum attorney can help guide you through the asylum process.

Applying for asylum is extremely complex, as immigration law is rapidly changing in the state and the country, and the rules and regulations involved can be difficult to interpret. However, having a general understanding of the asylum process can help seekers understand and protect their rights as well as optimize their chances of getting a positive case outcome. A New York asylum attorney can clear up any pressing questions or concerns that New York asylum seekers may have.

Understanding Asylum in New York

What Are the Criteria for Applying for Asylum in New York?

To apply for asylum in New York, you must already be living inside the country, and you must have a reasonable fear that you would be in imminent danger of being persecuted if you were to return to your country of origin. This means that you will need to demonstrate that you would be facing persecution based on an identifying characteristic, such as your race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or social group.

3 Ways to Apply for Asylum in New York

In New York and the United States, there are three major avenues that individuals can take to apply for asylum. Each pathway has its own associated processes and wait times, with some requiring pending immigration or criminal charges. The route that an asylum seeker may choose to pursue depends on varying factors, including their eligibility and the availability of applications. The three main application methods are:

Affirmative Asylum: Affirmative asylum seekers are required to apply for asylum within one year of arriving in the country by submitting a Form I-589, otherwise known as the Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.

Positive Credible Fear Determination: If you are facing expedited removal proceedings and can show that you intend to apply for asylum or are afraid to return to your home country, then you will be referred to United States Customs and Immigrations Services (USCIS) for a credible fear screening. If a USCIS officer determines that you have a credible fear of torture or persecution, they may give you an Asylum Merits Interview, or you may be called to a hearing in immigration court.

Defensive Asylum: Defensive asylum is pursued when individuals are facing a deportation order and express that they want to apply for asylum. For the application to be defensive, the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) must be carrying out active removal proceedings investigations.

Based on the pathways that an individual can pursue to be granted asylum, the processes that they must go through and the requirements and supporting documents involved may vary. For example, in the affirmative process, it is not necessary to go through a credible fear screening interview with a USCIS asylum officer. They also do not have to face a decision for a withholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture.

It’s important to work with a legal team that provides a safe space where you can feel comfortable sharing your story. Due to confidentiality, your lawyer is required by law to keep case details between the two of you, except in outstanding circumstances. By sharing key details with your attorney, they can help gather evidence to build up a strong case that you would be facing persecution if you returned to your home country.


What Benefits Do Asylum Seekers Get in New York?

A: Asylum seekers in New York state can get financial support through state benefits. After receiving documentation showing that their case is pending, they can present this document to qualify for Safety Net Assistance or SNA. Through SNA, asylum seekers can get $180 each month per individual in the household. Non-cash assistance, such as reduced metro cards, Medicaid, and utility and housing vouchers, are available as well.

Can I Apply for Work Authorization While Seeking Asylum in New York?

Yes, it is possible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), but you must wait 150 days after filing your application for asylum to do so. After that, you cannot receive the permit for asylum for another 30 days, as you must complete the full 180 days in what is known as the 180-Day Asylum EAD Clock. An experienced asylum attorney can determine if you are eligible and help you apply for work authorization.

What If I Was Not Found to Have a Credible Fear During a USCIS Screening?

An asylum officer will determine whether you are eligible for protection under the Convention Against Torture or a withholding of removal if you:

  1. Are an asylum seeker who was detained for expedited deportation.
  2. Appealed by expressing fear to return to your home country or interest in applying for asylum.
  3. Were not found to have credible fear during the subsequent USCIS screening.

If you are not eligible, then you will be placed in immigration removal hearings before an immigration judge.

What If I Did Not Submit My Asylum Application Within One Year?

If you did not submit your asylum application within the required time period of one year after arriving in the country, then you may still be eligible to apply under certain circumstances. For example, if you can show that you had extraordinary circumstances impacting your ability to file or that you have had an extreme change in circumstance that impacted your asylum eligibility, then the USCIS will likely still accept your application.

Work With the Dedicated Immigration Team at the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC

Applying for asylum in New York can be complex and overwhelming, but you do not have to do it alone. An experienced and compassionate New York asylum attorney from our firm can analyze the details of your case, help gather key evidence and documentation, and build a strategy that is optimal for getting your desired case outcomes. Reach out to our loyal team today to get started with the New York asylum application process.

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