What you need to know before applying


Political asylum is a special status. The US government grants it to a person based on strong evidence of a violation of the rights and freedoms of the individual, or in the event that someone is persecuting a person in the territory of his home country.

This is a multifaceted concept, and it includes persecution not only for political reasons: it also includes issues of religion, nationality, belonging to a particular social group — for example, to sexual minorities.

The United States is a country that is famous for its open policy towards immigrants, so there is an opinion that this is an ideal option for obtaining asylum. If you can no longer stay in your home country for one of the reasons listed above, it’s time to take a chance.

What do you need to do to get asylum?

  1. Legally enter the USA. Yes, you can request a change of status while at the border, but this will entail new difficulties.
  2. Choose where you want to live and set up a permanent postal address — this is where all documents that need to be filled out will be sent.
  3. Send Form I-589 and a case with the necessary papers, as well as your detailed history, to the USCIS office.
  4. Receive a confirmation letter containing your personal A-number.
  5. Visit an office in your state and submit biometric data.
  6. Get the Acknowledgment of receipt form.
  7. 150 days after filing the case, complete and submit Form I-765: this will allow you to work in the US and receive a Social Security number.
  8. Legally live and work in the States while waiting for an invitation for an interview.
  9. Pass an interview.

The last stage seems to many to be the most difficult — and not by chance: since January 29, 2018, the basic principles of obtaining asylum have changed, and this primarily affected the interviews.

What changed?

A priority. The newest applications will now be reviewed first and asylum candidates subjected to more stringent scrutiny than before.

What is it for? It’s simple: many use the long period that passes between the submission of documents and the passage of an interview in order to obtain the right to work in the United States. At the same time, they may have no reason to acquire a new status — and, moreover, their documents may turn out to be fake.

Fraudsters have become much more — and thanks to the timely quick review of applications, USCIS will be able to recognize them in time and deport them. Thus, there will soon be no more citizens who are going to work in the United States on false documents — and the applications of those who really can no longer live in their native country will be considered twice as fast.


How will the interview schedule be set up?

  1. First Priority: Applications for which an interview has already been scheduled, but due to the decision of USCIS or at the request of the applicant, it had to be postponed indefinitely.
  2. Second priority: Applications that are pending review for 21 one days or less.
  3. Third priority: all other applications pending confirmation. They will be dealt with as soon as new applications are considered.

The Service also noted that the level of workload can directly affect the speed of processing applications, but nevertheless, the goal is for the gap to be no more than 21 days.

The main stages of obtaining political asylum

If you still intend to collect a case and get political asylum by all means, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with the main stages of changing your status. You have to go through all this — and be prepared for a significant waste of effort and time.

First stage

  1. Tell your story. The presentation should be as detailed as possible. If you are being harassed for any of the above signs, USCIS representatives should know exactly what it is about. Do not hush up and do not distort the facts — if the lie is revealed, it will not bring you anything but problems.
  2. Complete Form I-589
  3. Collect all documents that can serve as evidence that you are being persecuted in your home country.

Second stage

After you have completed the process of assembling all the necessary documents, put them in one case and send it to the address of your regional USCIS office — each state has its own.

Third stage

After the receipt has arrived — confirmation that your documents have been accepted, you will receive an invitation for biometrics. Things to consider when going through this stage:

  1. you must leave your fingerprints and a photo — this excludes the possibility of forging a document.
  2. a specific day is assigned when you will have to come to the local office for this — the address will be indicated in the notification.
  3. If you ignore the invitation or visit the office late, your application may be terminated.


Never ignore the deadlines indicated in the documents from USCIS — otherwise you may be refused even before the time for the interview comes.

Very important:

The invitation for biometrics and the receipt confirm that your case is being considered, so it is best to have them with you when traveling — this confirms your right to be in the United States. For example, if a police officer detains you for any reason, he, in addition to an identity card, needs to show this document. It contains all the information regarding your current status in the States.

Fourth stage

After you have passed the biometrics procedure, the longest and most painful stage comes — waiting for an interview. Due to changes that have affected the principles for considering applications, you will have to wait no more than 21 days — but we remind you that everything depends on the workload of each office. If your application is new, most likely it will be considered very quickly. And if you were supposed to pass an interview, but the date had to be postponed, all the more so: your application becomes a first priority application.

If the date of the interview is already known, you will be sent a notice one month or two weeks before you have to appear at the appointed place.

Fifth stage

It includes an interview. On the specified day, you appear at a specific office where a USCIS officer will interview you.


What to be prepared for:

  1. all the facts that are described in the form and in your story have probably been thoroughly studied. If you lied, the officer will certainly find out about it during the interview;
  2. keep in mind that you will be asked questions — and the answers should be as accurate as possible. Yes, the Service employee takes into account your excitement — but if you distort significant details, this is fraught with problems;
  3. All answers will be compared with the evidence you provided in the story so the officer can figure out if they are real.

Sixth stage

The final step is making a decision. Each application is considered closely, studied to the smallest detail, since there are tens of thousands of those wishing to move to the United States illegally. If your application is approved, after one year you can reapply, and you will be issued a permanent green card.

In case of refusal, if the applicant is already without status, the case will automatically be sent to court, where the judge will consider it again, without considering the decision of the USCIS office.

To ensure that the process of obtaining political asylum does not cause you any difficulties, we recommend that you contact a competent immigration lawyer. The agency of Elizaveta Samorukova is ready to provide any possible assistance at any moment — only qualified specialists work for us.