Every year, people flee to the United States to seek protection because of persecution or fear of the same due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Persecution as used in this case means to harass, punish, injure, oppress, or otherwise cause someone to suffer physical or psychological harm. If your loved ones need asylum, let the immigration lawyer at Gambacorta Law help. We have handled thousands of cases and can help you through these legal challenges.

Contact Gambacorta Law online for a free consultation with a dedicated Skokie asylum attorney.

While U.S. immigration law does not list specific examples of which kinds of persecution qualify for asylum or refugee status in the country, this status has been granted under certain circumstances.

Asylum status may be given when a foreign government has:

  • Imprisoned and tortured political dissidents or supposed undesirables
  • Fired on protesters
  • Committed genocide against a certain race
  • Made sure that members of a certain religion were left out of the political process

In addition to these circumstances are threats, violence, inappropriate imprisonment, torture, or denial of basic human rights.

How to Apply for Asylum in the United States

Initial Steps for Asylum Application

To apply for asylum in the U.S., applicants may ask for asylum at the port of entry to the country such as an airport, seaport, or border crossing. They can also file Form I-598 Application of Asylum and for Withholding of Removal at the appropriate service center within a year of arrival into the U.S. Regardless of the immigration status of the applicant, the latter may apply for asylum.

Eligibility Criteria for Asylum Seekers

The immigration judge or the asylum officer will determine the applicant’s eligibility for asylum. As defined, a refugee is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to and avail himself or herself of the protection of his or her home country or, if stateless, country of last habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Ineligibility criteria for asylum include that the applicant:

  • Was convicted of a serious crime
  • Committed nonpolitical crimes outside the U.S.
  • Poses a threat to the safety of the U.S. and its citizens
  • Resettled in another country before seeking refuge in the U.S.
  • Participated in or ordered the persecution of others
  • Engaged in terrorist activities
  • Is considered a representative of a foreign terrorist organization

Understanding the Asylum Application Process

Detailed Asylum Application Procedures

The first step in applying is to fill out the proper paperwork. Gambacorta Law can help you know which applications are right for your situation, as well as how to plan your next step.

The process for applying depends on the applicant’s circumstance.

  • Applying for asylum for the first time, and have not been subject to a removal proceedings: File the Form I-589 at the service center having jurisdiction over your place of residence.
  • Denied asylum by the INS or USCIS or previously included in a spouse’s or parent’s pending application but no longer qualified as a derivative: File the Form I-589 with the appropriate asylum officer over your place of residence, including a letter with your application stating the denial of a previous application for asylum as well as that the applicant is now filing independently for asylum. Reference the application in which the applicant is a dependent.
  • Currently in removal proceedings: File the Form I-589 with the immigration court that has jurisdiction over the place of your residence.
  • Certain crewmembers, stowaways, or individuals who entered the U.S. pursuant to the Visa Waiver Program: File the Form I-589 with the district director having jurisdiction over the place of residence.

Timelines for Filing Asylum Applications

You must apply for asylum within one year of your last arrival in the United States, but you may apply for asylum later than one year if there are changed circumstances that materially affect your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances directly related to your failure to file within one year.

Changed circumstances include:

  • Changes in the conditions in the applicant’s country of origin, or if the applicant is stateless, the country of last residence.
  • Changes in the applicant’s circumstances that materially affect the latter’s eligibility for asylum, such as changes in the U.S. applicable law and activities where the applicant was involved out the country of feared persecution.
  • In cases of aliens previously included as independents in another pending application for asylum, loss of spousal or parent-child relationship with the principal applicant through death, divorce, or attainment of age of 21.

Applicants will be barred from applying for asylum if they were previously denied by the immigration judge or Board of Immigration Appeals. That is, unless changes in their circumstances materially affecting their eligibility for asylum were clearly demonstrated. Applicants will likewise be barred if the latter could be removed to a safe third country pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement.

Extraordinary circumstance can include:

  • Serious illness, mental disability, or physical disability during the one-year period after arrival
  • Legal disability during the one-year period after arrival
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel
  • The applicant maintained Temporary Protected Status, lawful immigrant or non-immigrant status, or was given parole until a reasonable period before the filing of the asylum application
  • The applicant filed an asylum application prior to the expiration of the one-year deadline but the application was rejected as not properly filed
  • Death or serious illness or incapacity of the applicant’s legal representative or a member of the applicant’s immediate family

Post-Asylum Application Outcomes

Understanding the Asylum Decision Process

Upon submitting your application for asylum, the corresponding officer will evaluate the information provided on the application and the testimony of the applicant.

Once granted asylum, applicant will have the asylee status. The asylee with receive a I-94 Arrival and Departure record documenting that the asylee is granted the privilege to remain indefinitely in the U.S. with the status of an asylee. The asylee may also request for derivative asylum status for his or her spouse and/or child/children under 21 years of age.

Benefits of an asylee include:

  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • Unrestricted Social Security card
  • Cash and medical assistance
  • Employment assistance
  • Refugee travel document
  • Filing for permanent residence (green card)

Employment Rights for Asylum Seekers

Applicants for asylum cannot apply for employment authorization or permission to work in the U.S. at the same time of filing for an asylum.

Work authorization may be applied for when 150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application, excluding any delays caused by you (such as a request to reschedule your interview). You must have also received no notice of a decision having been made on your application.

Applicants granted an asylum may work immediately, while some asylees choose to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for convenience and identification purposes. EAD is not necessary to work in the case of asylees.

Partner with a Skokie Asylum Attorney for Your Case

Why Choose Gambacorta Law for Your Asylum Case

The application process is highly complicated. As the refugee, you must prove your interests and prove that returning to your native country would cause physical or emotional harm. The U.S. does not take asylum requests lightly. Make sure you have an advocate by your side to assist you with the application process.

Ready to seek asylum? Call (847) 443-9303 now to partner with a Skokie asylum attorney.


  • Specializing in Complex Immigration Cases

  • Willing to Travel to Clients When Needed

  • Personally Been Through the Immigration Process

  • Services in Tagalog, Thai, Spanish & Vietnamese


  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.


  • Sincere Dedication

    “I can't express how appreciative I am to have found him. My husband is back home with us now and we are celebrating our 8 year anniversary this Friday. Thank you for your sincere dedication Mr. Gambacorta, you brought my family back together.”

    - Nicole
  • Extraordinarily Helpful

    “The temple and Khun Tim have an ongoing relationship and I continue to refer Thai people to him when I know that Thai people are in need of an immigration lawyer.”

    - Anonymous
  • Passion for Helping People

    “I have never been so impressed by an attorney, as this is simply one of the "good guys!" He has a passion for helping people, and for not giving up.”

    - Karla
  • Always Very Attentive to Me and My Family During This Process

    “He successfully help me obtain a working permit card in the U.S., amongst other benefits, as part of the new law in Illinois (The Dream ACT).”

    - Norman Jr.
  • Thoughtful, Thorough, and Most Importantly, Practical

    “I have worked with Tim for almost 3 years and have never been disappointed in any aspect of his work.”

    - Hung