For immigrants wanting to come to the United States from another country because of fear of persecution, there are two popular options. Depending on your circumstances, you might request asylum or apply to become a refugee. Although these two statuses have some similarities, they are not the same thing. In order to know which is best for you, it is important to understand the differences between asylum and refugee status.

Your Location Makes a Difference

The biggest difference between requesting asylum and applying for refugee status has to do with your physical location. If you are already in the United States or at a port of entry, you should request asylum. In order to apply for refugee status, you should be outside of the United States and outside of your home country. In order to be granted either of these statuses, you must be able to prove that you are a victim of persecution and are unable or unwilling to return to your home country.

Seeking Asylum

If you qualify to file paperwork to request asylum, in most cases, your paperwork must be filed within a year of your entry into the United States. This must be completed in this time frame or you face possible rejection of your request when it is filed. Even worse, you will be deported. While your request is being reviewed, you must have authorization in order to be able to work.

Becoming a Refugee

Although you can technically take your time to request to become a refugee, it is better to file while you still feel threatened. For example, if a new regime takes over your government, it may not be perceived that you are in a dangerous situation. To apply, contact the nearest United States embassy. They will help you gather the appropriate papers to submit your request. Once your application to become a refugee is approved, you are eligible to work in the United States.

Get Help

If you are thinking of requesting asylum or refugee status, you should contact an immigration lawyer. At Sussman Law Firm, PLLC, we are here to help. If you have any questions about whether you would qualify for asylum or as a refugee, ask us. We are here to answer your questions and help you fill out the appropriate paperwork so that you can legally be in the United States. To learn more, call our office today at (980) 598-8180 or contact us online.