Asylum may be granted to people who are already in the United States and are unable or unwilling to return to their home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. If you are granted asylum, you will be allowed to live and work in the United States. You also will be able to apply for permanent resident status one year after you are granted asylum.

You may include your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 in your own asylum application if your spouse or children are in the United States.

Asylum status and refugee status are closely related. They differ only in the place where a person asks for the status asylum is asked for in the United States; refugee status is asked for outside of the United States. However, all people who are granted asylum must meet the definition of a refugee. If you will apply outside the United States, please see How Do I Get Resettled in the United States as a Refugee?. If you do not qualify for asylum, but fear being tortured upon returning to your homeland, you can apply for consideration under the Torture Convention.

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What is the United States Asylum Program and Who Benefits?