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Reasons for Political Asylum

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  • Reasons for Political Asylum

    I have been legally in the states for 4 years. I came on J1 visa and then switched to F1. I will be finishing school this summer. My plan was to apply for OPT, then H1B visa and ultimately Green Card. However, after sending in my passport for extension, i learned that there is a warrant out for my arrest in my home country. It turned out that because of my past political involvement in the opposition parties and a number of recent law changes retroactively applied to my case, i am being sought after as a dissident.


    Now, the problem is that i don't really have any official proof. All i got is the letter from the local authorities certifying there is indeed a warrant out for my arrest. Also, i might be able to get testimonial letters from my friends who were involved in the same activities as me and a letter from my parents stating that they are constantly being harassed by the local officials.

    My main question is:
    Since my political involvement was through the church i was a member of, what is the ground i should seek political asylum under: religious persecution or political involvement in the opposition organizations? Does it matter? i heard one is easier than the other.

    thanks for the advice.
    Last edited by denver3883; 14th July 2008, 05:53 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by denver3883 View Post
    I have been legally in the states for 4 years. I came on J1 visa and then switched to F1. I will be finishing school this summer. My plan was to apply for OPT, then H1B visa and ultimately Green Card. However, after sending in my passport for extension, i learned that there is a warrant out for my arrest in my home country. It turned out that because of my past political involvement in the opposition parties and a number of recent law changes retroactively applied to my case, i am being sought after as a dissident.


    Now, the problem is that i don't really have any official proof. All i got is the letter from the local authorities certifying there is indeed a warrant out for my arrest. Also, i might be able to get testimonial letters from my friends who were involved in the same activities as me and a letter from my parents stating that they are constantly being harassed by the local officials.

    My main question is:
    Since my political involvement was through the church i was a member of, what is the ground i should seek political asylum under: religious persecution or political involvement in the opposition organizations? Does it matter? i heard one is easier than the other.

    thanks for the advice.
    This is a tricky situation. You can technically apply for asylum under BOTH categories at the same time. I did that even when one category was obviously more significant than the others. If you think about it, a lot of times asylum situations can overlap each other. Just check both options on your application. But please make sure that you have enough evidence in order to apply for asylum. You MUST get a lawyer for ANY asylum case where she or he will be able to advise you based upon your evidence.

    I would also make sure that the reason for your warrant is not considered illegal here in the US (ie belonging to a terrorist organization) and you really are being persecuted for your political and religious beliefs. I'm not questioning your validity or anything but in case you file for both asylum as well as for OPT to H1B to Green Card, you don't want any conflicting information.

    Again, please get a lawyer. I don't recommend ANYONE applying for asylum without one. US Asylum laws are just too complicated for someone who does not have a competent attorney.
    Applied for Asylum: 01/05
    Asylum Interview: 03/05
    Recommended Approval: 04/05
    FP Notice: 09/07
    Asylum Final Approval: 10/07
    Notice Date: 02/09
    RFI: 02/09
    Medical Received by TSC: 03/24/09
    GC APPROVED 04/08/09!!!!! 2 Months after I applied!!!!!!
    N-400: Applied in Feb 2013 (I waited a little longer)
    N-400: Interview Scheduled for Aug 23
    N-400: Interview Done - Aug 23
    N-400: APPROVAL/Oath Date: (Sep 13)
    N-400: Passport in Hand!!!! (CAN'T. FREAKIN. WAIT!)

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    • #3
      I'm not questioning your validity or anything but in case you file for both asylum as well as for OPT to H1B to Green Card, you don't want any conflicting information.
      Thank you so much for your reply. I guess i will have to talk to the attorney if i even should be mentioning my initial intention of going the H1B route. Originally, I didn't want the hassle that comes with applying for political asylum. I thought that by the time i graduate, things in my country would settle down. However, as of recently, the situation has only intensified. The worst thing is that the local authorities are getting to me through my parents by constantly calling them in for interrogation and paying late visits to my parents' house.

      Mainly, i just wanted to know what i should do since i do have reasons to believe that i will be persecuted for both political and religious views. The reason being is pretty much the opposition organization i was in was christian, and the first of its kind. I heard that it's easier to prove that you will be persecuted for religious views than for your political views.

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      • #4
        Well you just check both options, the officer/judge will then decide which category you fall into. Now you're saying that you've been here for almost 4 years - might be a problem because you are supposed to file an asylum case within the year you entered the country. I'm not saying it's not possible, it's just the matter of difficulty (so find a lawyer with a relevant experience). I heard that almost all applicants for asylum who did not file their application are being referred to the immigration judge for more detailed case evalution. I don't think it would be possible in your case because if you're in legal status (such as f-1 or opt, etc), you cannot be put into the removal proceedings (otherwise you cannot get an immigration hearing). So please ask your lawyer about that, tell him that you don't want to get a notice of intend to deny if the officer doesn't approve your case, you want to go to the immigration hearing. And it's always a huge advantage for you to have an expert witness testifying in the court. So first of all check country reports (from human rights and department of state), see what the situation with your religion is in your country, then try to find an expert witness (somebody who is doing a research about your country for example). And I would tell you another time - finding a good lawyer should preceed everything else.
        Good luck!
        Last edited by solar_wind; 15th July 2008, 08:38 PM.

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