The Credible Fear Test and Requesting Asylum

One method of obtaining semi-permanent resident status is a bit risky, but may be worth it if you can prove credibility. As an immigration lawyer can tell you, occasionally a foreign national is able to request asylum successfully by stating a fear for his safety upon returning home.

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You Must Already Have an Entry Visa

The process for asserting fear of return begins by entering the U.S. through some legal immigration means, such as a tourist visa. You cannot assert fear successfully if you are in the country without proper documentation. That said, you do not have to be in the U.S. for a minimum length of time first; you can assert fear at an entry point, such as an airport. The problem with this is that if you explain your fear to an inspector right away, and he doesn’t believe you, you will be deported and will not be allowed to enter the U.S. for five years.

The Credible Fear Interview

After you announce that you fear for your safety should you return to your home country, you will then be given a credible fear interview. This will be conducted immediately. It is a good idea to speak with an immigration lawyer prior to this in order to gain a clear understanding of how you need to articulate your fear. The fear you have must be for matters of persecution.

Should you not pass the credible fear interview, it is essential that you then request a hearing before an immigration judge right away; if you don’t, you will be deported for the five years. The hearing will be held within seven days, and will either be in-person or by phone. Assuming the immigration judge believes your fear is credible, he will schedule a full hearing. This hearing will occur in a court. If prior to this you have not secured the services of an immigration lawyer, it is very important that you do so now.

While Waiting for the Hearing

Once a full hearing is scheduled, you will likely be placed in detention. You should work with your lawyer at this point in order to post a bond. To do so you will need to show that you will have financial support until your case is decided.

If You Need Assistance with an Immigration Issue

If you are applying for asylum, or have another immigration concern, call an immigration lawyer at Ionson Law at (781) 674-2562.

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