In order to be eligible for asylum in the United States, an applicant has the burden of proving:
● an inability or unwillingness to return to their home country of nationality because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution
● on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group, and
● the persecutor is a government actor or a non-governmental actor that the government is unwilling or unable to control
Asylum status is available to people who are already in the United States or are seeking admission at a U.S. port of entry. This is different from “refugee” status, which is granted to someone who is still outside the United States.
An asylee (i.e., a person who is granted asylum) is allowed to live and work in the United States. After one year, the asylee may apply for lawful permanent resident status (i.e., a green card). Once the individual becomes a permanent resident, he or she must wait four years to apply for citizenship.