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Asylum / Refugees

Individuals being persecuted in their home countries may apply for asylum, refugee status, or temporary protected status in the United States. USCIS notes that economic hardship is not deemed to be a sufficient reason for an individual to apply for asylum or refugee status.

Refugee status or asylum may be granted to people who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion

There is a difference between Asylum and Refugee Status:

A refugee is a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her native country due to a well-founded fear of persecution or because the person's life or freedom would be threatened. Refugee status is a form of protection that may be granted to people who meet the definition of refugee and who are of special humanitarian concern to the United States. Refugees are generally people outside of their country who are unable or unwilling to return home because they fear serious harm. For a legal definition of refugee, see section 101(a)(42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). To apply for refugee status, the applicant must be physically located outside the United States..

Asylum: Individuals already physically present in the US may apply for asylum, provided they meet the definition of a refugee and are not barred by law from applying for or being granted asylum.

You may apply for asylum in the United States regardless of your country of origin or your current immigration status. For more information about asylum status, see the "Asylum" section.

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