Can an Asylee Become a U.S. Citizen?

an immigration lawyer

The United States welcomes thousands of asylum seekers from other countries every year. An asylee is a person who sought and obtained protection from persecution from inside the U.S. If you are granted asylum, you can apply for a green card a year after the date upon which you were granted asylum status. To be granted a green card, the asylee must have been physically in the U.S. for at least a year. Once an asylee is granted a green card, they can apply for citizenship after five years of continuous permanent residence. If you need help getting asylum in the U.S., contact an experienced Middlesex County, New Jersey Asylum Lawyer who can fight for you.

Who is an Asylee?

An asylee is a person who has already made it to the U.S. and is seeking protection because they have suffered or fear that they will suffer persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. An asylee has been forced to flee their home because of war, violence, or persecution.

How Long Does the Asylum Process Take?

The asylum process can range from six months to several years. The length ultimately depends on whether an individual filed affirmatively or defensively.

Affirmatively: Normally, the initial interview takes place within 45 days from when the application was filed. A decision is typically made within 180 days after the application date.

Defensively: Individuals must go through the immigration court system when applying defensively. The average wait for an immigration hearing is around 721 days.

How Can an Individual Apply for Asylum in the U.S.?

Individuals who seek asylum in the U.S. must show evidence of fear of persecution in their home country. When an individual applies for asylum in the U.S., they can either apply affirmatively or defensively. Individuals can apply through the affirmative asylum process if they are physically present in the U.S., and have been there for a year, regardless of how they entered the country.

An individual can apply through the defensive asylum process after they have been apprehended by the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Protection (CBP) without a valid visa. Through the defensive asylum process, they will have to go to immigration court, where a judge will make the final decision on whether or not the individual is eligible for asylum. If they fail to show a valid fear of persecution, they will be ordered for removal. If you need help applying for asylum in the U.S., contact a trusted New Jersey Immigration Lawyer.


Whether you’re facing a legal matter concerning immigration, family law, criminal law, or otherwise, our firm is here to help. Contact the Law Offices of Aditya Surti, LLC today.

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