Under current U.S. immigration law, an applicant for asylum must file his or her application within one year of his or her last date of arrival to the U.S. This one-year filing deadline applies to all applicants who apply for asylum on or after April 16, 1998. It is the applicant’s duty to establish that he or she filed the application within the one-year filing deadline. The one-year period is calculated from the day after the applicant’s last day of arrival in the U.S.
Many applicants for asylum are unaware of the one-year filing deadline, and may miss their opportunity to present their asylum claim. If an applicant did not apply for asylum within one year from the last arrival in the United States, he or she may still be eligible to apply for asylum if the applicant establishes that there are changed circumstances materially affecting the applicant’s eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances related to the delay in filing. The applicant must also establish that the applicant was filed within a reasonable period of time after the changed or extraordinary circumstance.
Changed Circumstances: If the applicant establishes that changed circumstances materially affect an applicant’s ability to apply for asylum, then the applicant may apply outside of the one-year filing deadline.
Types of Changed Circumstances: Examples of changed circumstances include, but are not limited to:
Changed conditions in the applicant’s country of nationality;
Threats against an applicant’s family member living abroad;
Changes in applicable U.S. law;
Changes in the applicant’s personal circumstances, such as recent political activism, etc.;
The ending of the applicant’s spousal or parent-child relationship to the principal applicant in a previous application;
A change of government which is now hostile to an applicant’s profession, such as journalists;
An applicant’s involvement in political organizing or other activities in the U.S. that are critical of the applicant’s government;
An applicant’s conversion from one religion to another, or abandonment of religion altogether;
Recent antagonism in an applicant’s country toward the applicant’s race or nationality.
Extraordinary Circumstances: If the applicant establishes that events or factors in an applicant’s life caused the applicant to miss the one-year filing deadline, then the applicant may apply outside of the one-year filing deadline. The applicant must also establish that the extraordinary circumstance was directly related to the failure to timely file, and the extraordinary circumstance was not intentionally created by the applicant’s own action or inaction.
Types of Extraordinary Circumstances: Extraordinary circumstances include, but are not limited to:
Serious illness or mental or physical disability, including any effects of persecution or violent harm suffered in the past;
The death or serious illness or incapacity of the applicant’s legal representative or a member of the applicant’s immediate family;
Legal disability, which includes children under 18 years of age;
Ineffective assistance of counsel claims against attorneys or accredited representatives;
Maintaining lawful status in the U.S.;
Initial attempted submission of asylum application was timely;
It is important to consult with an immigration lawyer to the discuss the specifics of your case.
In this local FOX news story, Lesley Irizarry-Hougan, Seattle immigration lawyer, comments on a deportation / asylum case dealing with exceptions to the 1-year bar.
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