If you are contemplating, “Can I apply for asylum without a lawyer?” You have every right to represent yourself without help from an attorney. Is it a good idea? It may not be, considering this may be your only chance to escape the oppression and hardship you face in your home country.
Before making such an important decision about your future, you should know some of the disadvantages you might face by representing yourself in the legal system. The immigration lawyers at Bassey Immigration Law Center are here for you should you decide you want an experienced legal ally to guide you through the process of seeking asylum.
Are You Eligible?
Under U.S. law, you are eligible to seek asylum in the United States if you face persecution in your home country based on your:
- Membership in a particular social group
- Political opinions
If you feel you meet one of these criteria, you may begin the process of applying for asylum and seeking safety in U.S. territory.
An Overview of the Asylum Process
The main steps in seeking asylum in the U.S. are:
- Being physically present in the United States—you cannot apply from another country.
- Filing Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You can find information on where to file on the USCIS website.
- Attending a Biometric Services Appointment. In this step, the USCIS will collect data from you, such as your fingerprints, photograph, and signature.
- Attending an interview. The USCIS Asylum Division will schedule you for an interview. Your interview notice will tell you the date, location, and time of your appointment.
- Receiving a decision. Based on the information collected in your interview and submitted forms, an asylum officer will make a determination regarding your eligibility.
Attending a Biometric Services Appointment. In this step, the USCIS will collect data from you, such as your fingerprints, photograph, and signature.
Attending an interview. The USCIS Asylum Division will schedule you for an interview. Your interview notice will tell you the date, location, and time of your appointment.
Receiving a decision. Based on the information collected in your interview and submitted forms, an asylum officer will make a determination regarding your eligibility.
Applicants can typically expect a decision within two weeks, although the waiting time may vary widely depending on your immigration status and other factors.
Why an Attorney Can Help
An experienced attorney for citizenship can help you compile the supporting evidence and corroborating information immigration officials are looking for in your application and during your interview. You want to make the strongest possible case. Without compelling information, you may not receive the result you are hoping for.
Mistakes in paperwork, missed deadlines, lack of documentation, and other missteps can quickly derail your asylum application. Asylum seekers who don’t understand the process and the rules and procedures of the immigration system may find themselves overwhelmed. They may make mistakes.
While you can apply for asylum without a lawyer if you choose, you stand a much better chance of success with an attorney helping you through the process. One university study showed that asylum seekers with legal representation were five times more likely to win their cases than those who represented themselves.
Talk With an Attorney Who Knows the Asylum Process
If you would like to discuss your asylum application with a lawyer who knows the process and has helped many people like you, contact Bassey Immigration Law Center today to schedule a legal consultation.