If you fear for your life in your country, the one thing you’ll try to do is to stay out of it. The United States does have a process for asylum to help people who feel threatened or who are in danger in their home countries. As a refugee, it’s important that you understand the process required to apply.

Affirmative asylum processing takes place with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. To apply for this kind of asylum, there is the requirement that you’re already in the United States. Perhaps most importantly, you can apply for asylum no matter what your current immigration status is. Even if you came to the United States illegally, you’ll be able to seek asylum.

How long do you have to seek asylum?

Once you reach the United States, you have no longer than a year from the date of your latest arrival to seek asylum. There are exceptions to that rule, such as showing that there are extraordinary conditions to consider. If you are flying past the one-year mark, then it is necessary to show that you filed within a reasonable amount of time of any changed circumstances leading to your request.

What if you want to file for defensive asylum?

Defensive asylum is different, because it’s a defensive application made in the hope of staying in the United States instead of being deported. This type of asylum can only take place if you’re involved in removal proceedings in immigration court presently. If so, then you can seek this type of asylum with the assistance of your attorney.