What is the deadline for individuals to file for asylum to the United States?

Large group of people forming the United States of America. Immigration, travel, visiting, refugee, integration concept.

The one-year-filing-deadline was passed in 1996 along with the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. The deadline explicitly states that the asylum applicant must show substantial evidence that the application is filed within a year of the applicants last entry into the United States. For more information on the one-year-filing deadline and other immigration basics click here.

Exceptions to the One-Year-Filing-Deadline

 There are some circumstances in which an asylum applicant can circumvent the one-year-filing-deadline. Exceptions are made only when “an applicant has the existence of changed circumstances which materially affect the applicant’s eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing the application”(Section 5.2).  Although the substantive rules are the same throughout the United States, administrative procedures vary from office-to-office.  The Tallahassee immigration attorneys at Liebenhaut Law can answer questions you may have regarding exceptions to the one-year filing deadline and its exceptions and the procedures that will apply to someone in North Florida or South Georgia.

If an applicant can prove that they missed the one-year-deadline due to a change in circumstances, they may receive an exemption to the one-year deadline. Often, the change of circumstance is that an applicant came to the United States not fearing returning to his home country but after their arrival, now fear returning to their home country.  Brandon Smoot, an immigration attorney in Tallahassee with Liebenahaut Law, has experience with many asylum cases and can answer your questions regarding whether your situation constitutes a qualifying “change in circumstances.” This claim must be made in a reasonable time. Some circumstances that change an applicant’s materially is being diagnosed with HIV or being active in the LGBTQ community, especially if an applicants home country has severe discrimination to the LGBTQ community. For further reference on more examples of a “change in circumstance.” click here and scroll to page 9-12.

The other exceptions to the one-year-filing-deadline are extraordinary circumstances. An extraordinary circumstance is only considered when the circumstance caused the applicant to not be able to file an application within a year. There are six categories or events for extraordinary situations. 1. Serious illnesses or mental or physical disability after arrival. 2. Legal disability after arrival. 3. Ineffective assistance of counsel. 4. Applicant maintained temporary protected status, lawful immigrant or nonimmigrant status, or parole until a reasonable time before the filing. 5. The applicant filed an application before the year-deadline and was rejected by the service because it was not properly filed. and 6. The death or serious illness of the applicant’s legal representative or immediate family. For more information on what qualifies as an extraordinary circumstance, click here and scroll to page 12-20.