Asylum / Refugees – The Process for Applying for Asylum in the U.S.
All asylum applicants are required to testify before an asylum officer or Immigration Judge in support of their application for asylum.
The REAL ID Act of 2005 increased the burden on asylum applicants to provide corroborating evidence (evidence from third parties) of their asylum claims. Under the REAL ID Act, even if the Immigration Judge finds an asylum applicant’s testimony credible, the Immigration Judge may require that the applicant provide corroborating evidence of the asylum claim, or explain why gathering and presenting corroborating evidence was not reasonably possible.
Government reports, reports from human rights organizations, and news reports on conditions in an asylum applicant’s home country qualify as corroborating evidence. Signed letters and statements from family members, friends, or other persons who have personal knowledge of the persecution or torture an asylum applicant suffered, or may suffer if forced to return home, also qualify as corroborating evidence. Other important evidence in asylum cases are expert opinions and medical reports.
There are many non-profit organizations around the country that represent asylum applicants for little to no fee. There are also many free resources available to asylum applicants. The box on the right may be helpful for persons who would like more information about applying for asylum in the United States.