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Affirmative Asylum Process

Washington D. C. Lawyers to Demystify the Affirmative Asylum Process If you are in the United States because you are fleeing persecution, you should retain counsel to determine whether you should file an affirmative asylum petition right away. There are two types of asylum: defensive and affirmative. The process for obtaining affirmative asylum can be quite complicated and raise difficult, nuanced concerns and challenges. There are risks of deportation. With an affirmative petition, you are raising your need for asylum before the system seeks to remove you. If you need to engage in the affirmative asylum process, it is imperative to seek legal counsel who can highlight concerns and respond to them strategically. The experienced Washington D.C. asylum lawyer Matthew T. Famiglietti may be able to represent you.


Our first step in evaluating your case will be to look at whether you are eligible for asylum. In addition to time requirements, you might not be eligible to apply for affirmative asylum if an immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals denied your application, or if you could be removed to a safe third party under a two-party or multi-party agreement between other countries and the United States. However, there are exceptions for extraordinary circumstances.

To seek relief under the affirmative asylum process, you need to be physically present in the United States. A pending affirmative asylum application allows relief seekers to stop gathering unlawful presence in the country as long as they otherwise follow laws, such as working only with permission. Applying for affirmative asylum through appropriate channels can assist you in avoiding problems if, for instance, you’re later eligible for a green card for other reasons. However, using this process can also create certain difficulties when not utilized appropriately.

Once we determine whether you are eligible for relief, we will need to file a Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal. Our Washington D.C. attorneys can only file an affirmative petition on your behalf within one year of your last entry into the country with the exception of when (1) you experienced changed circumstances that materially impacted your eligibility or extraordinary circumstances and (2) you filed within a reasonable time frame based on those circumstances.

After USCIS receives a completed application, you’ll receive acknowledgement of receipt of your application and notice to visit the nearest application support center for fingerprinting. You will need to bring your ASC Notice with you to a fingerprinting appointment. An interview will be scheduled with an asylum officer at one of the 8 asylum offices, one of the 2 sub-offices or a field office. Asylum interviews are scheduled according to certain criteria for priority. The first priority is applications previously scheduled for interview, but which had to be rescheduled based on an applicant’s request or USCIS needs.

The interview with an asylum officer typically lasts an hour, but this time can vary. As your attorneys, we may help you identify witnesses to testify on your behalf and secure an interpreter, when necessary. The asylum officer will look at whether you meet the definition of a refugee or whether you are barred from receiving asylum. In some cases, the decision will be referred to staff at USCIS headquarters for further review.

Benefits and Risks of Affirmative Asylum

If the asylum process is successful, you will be granted the status of “asylee.” As an asylee, you will be able to work and live in the United States indefinitely. However, if your affirmative case is not approved, USCIS is supposed to issue a Form I-862, which is a Notice to Appear. An immigration judge will conduct a new hearing on the case and then issue a decision separate from the earlier one by USCIS. Sometimes USCIS doesn’t have jurisdiction over a case, and in that case the office will issue a Form I-863, Notice of Referral to Immigration Judge.

Consult a Seasoned Washington D.C. Asylum Attorney

The affirmative asylum process is difficult to navigate alone. Because this procedure is high stakes, it is crucial to hire a lawyer after you enter the United States if you believe you may meet the criteria for a refugee. Experienced Washington D.C. asylum attorney Matthew T. Famiglietti may be able to represent you not only in your asylum petition, but also your application for permission to work. Mr. Famiglietti represents refugees in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland. Complete our online form or call the Law Office of Matthew T. Famiglietti at (202) 669-5880.

Please note, there is a consultation fee for any calls related to this practice area.

Client Reviews
Mr. Famiglietti is an extraordinary attorney. I went to him at the referral of a friend who had been helped by him. He was compassionate, professional, and relentless as he advocated for me. I highly recommend him and his excellent staff. A.T.
Matthew Famiglietti is a great attorney he provided me with excellent legal representation and I was very blessed to have him. K.B.
I am truly blessed to be represented by Mr. Famiglietti. He is approachable, knowledgeable, understanding and was well prepared to solve my legal issue. Mr. Famiglietti treated me with sincerity and communicated effectively. I followed his advice and was truly surprised by the outcome of my case. I am most thankful that I listen to him and consider Mr. Famiglietti a friend for life. I recommend his services without hesitation. L.J.L.
I'm not a very formal person and Matt made me feel comfortable at our first meeting. He is a competent, sharp and very insightful, asking the right questions and giving you a game plan. Above all, he is honest about your case upfront. He was very patient and understanding that I was late and never had an attitude with me. I highly recommend Mr. Famiglietti. Thom K.
Mr. Famiglietti chose to represent me in my darkest hour. My health was failing and my employer was illegally terminating me. Mr. Famiglietti built a strategy and plan to bring to light my employers flawed ways. Matt gave me confidence in the way he built his plan. Matt knew all the laws pertaining to my workplace case. He gave me confidence and his representation gave me a favorable outcome in my case. Jamere