Asylum provides permanent lawful status to individuals who establish that they have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. An individual may seek asylum affirmatively, by submitting an application with the DHS United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, or defensively, if already in removal proceedings (deportation) before an Immigration Judge.


​While certain exceptions exist, it is essential that an individual apply for asylum within the first year of their arrival into the United States. Asylees may obtain employment authorization, and permission to reenter the country after travel abroad (to any country other than the country of persecution). Asylees are eligible to apply for a green card on the one-year anniversary of their grant of asylum.