Asylum in the United States can be obtained through a defensive process and an affirmative one. People from other countries seek asylum in the country for a variety of reasons, but each must go through one of these processes to obtain the status legally.

Defensive Asylum

This type of asylum is obtained when a person requests it as a defense from removal. For this type of asylum to be granted, a person must be involved in removal proceedings in an immigration court. People can be placed in processing in one of three ways:

  1. By referral after they have been found ineligible for affirmative asylum.
  2. They were placed in proceedings due to apprehension at a U.S. port.
  3. They were placed in proceedings due to apprehension at a U.S. border.

Affirmative Asylum

A person can only obtain affirmative asylum if they are physically present in the country. A person may apply for asylum regardless of how they entered the United States. They may also apply for affirmative asylum regardless of their status of immigration.

Generally, a person must apply for affirmative asylum within a year of their arrival. The person may apply after a year if they can show:

  1. There were extraordinary circumstances that relate to the delay.
  2. The filing occurred in a reasonable time given the extraordinary circumstances.

A person who wishes to seek asylum in Washington state should reach out to an immigration attorney for assistance. The process of seeking asylum can be complex and must be done appropriately.


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