Asylum Law

United States of America has been one of the major destinations for people seeking asylum because of work opportunities, confluence of different cultures and stable law and order system. Statistically, around one-tenth of the immigration population in United States are asylee status holders.

Legal Provisions:

The United States recognize valid asylum seekers claim under 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. The formal act to this nature is called Refugee Act of 1980. The legal definition requires the asylum seeker fulfills the following conditions to make his claim valid:

  • It should be proved that the asylum seeker fears persecution.
  • The persecution is on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion and social group.
  • The government of the asylum’s state is unable to provide protection against such persecution or is involved in such persecution.

Asylum claims are looked after by Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).


The President of the United States of America sends a proposal on the number of asylum seekers to be admitted each year, called the Asylum quota, to the Congress as per the legal provisions laid down in Immigration and Nationality Act.

Application Process:

Application by Refugees abroad: The bulk of asylum applications are received by the US embassies located at different countries. The applications are reviewed by the respective state department employees. The applications are prioritized under three category based on the case. The refugees are either repatriated to their country of origin or mingled with the refugees of asylum country or relocated to third country like US.

Application by Individual: When applying under this category the applicant must prove that he or she satisfies the definition laid down as “Refugee” and other statutory criteria. The onus to prove the same is on the applicant.

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