What Is Religious Asylum
Religious asylum, or asylum based on religious persecution, is a type of asylum request. Anyone afraid of returning to their home country due to persecution on one of the following protected grounds may apply for asylum in the US:
- membership in a particular social group
- and/or political opinion
A person who is afraid of returning to their country because they are persecuted due to their religious beliefs can therefore seek asylum in the United States.
Who Qualifies For Religious Asylum?
Asylum is not limited to religion grounds. People who are persecuted due to their race, nationality, political opinion, and/or membership in a particular social group can also apply for asylum. In addition, many people will have multiple grounds for their asylum case.
Essentially, a person who fears persecution in their home country applies for asylum in the US. During the application process and forms, they indicate the reason for their persecution, which could be religion and/or any of the other protected grounds.
However, it is the exact same form and process for everyone, regardless of the reason for the persecution or the reason they are applying for asylum.
Asylum based on religious grounds
Anyone who has experienced past persecution or fears future persecution due to their religious beliefs may be eligible for asylum in the US.
This is true as long as the persecution comes from their government or from a group that the government cannot or will not control.
Whether you are targeted because you belong to a certain religious group or denomination, or if your personal religious beliefs result in your targeting, you may be eligible for applying for asylum based on religious grounds.
Applying For Religious Asylum
Applying for asylum based on religious persecution can be complicated and sometimes difficult to describe accurately.
This is why an experienced asylum attorney can be particularly helpful in establishing and explaining the type of religious persecution you experienced.
There are many different, and sometimes complex, forms of religious persecution that occur in different countries in the world. Some examples of religious persecution may include:
- Violent targeting by state, community, or uncontrolled militant groups due to your religion;
- Being forced to undergo religious conversion;
- Being targeted due to your lack of belief, such as for being an agnostic or atheist;
- Targeted violence or attacks because you converted from your original religion;
- And targeting due to lack of adherence, or refusal to adhere to, religious customs and practices.
These are just a few examples of religious persecution; there are many other scenarios that may also qualify as persecution based on religious grounds.
Filing For Religious Asylum
As previously noted, a person can file for asylum based on multiple grounds. Many asylum applicants face persecution for a combination of reasons.
For instance, an individual from a particular minority group may face persecution both due to their race and their religion and/or even due to their membership in a further defined social group in that country.
In these instances, a person would file for asylum based on multiple grounds. Many, if not most, asylum cases have more than one grounds for their asylum case. You are not limited to applying for asylum under only one grounds.
As such, it is important to completely explain in your application all of the threats and risks to you and do not try to limit yourself to only one reason if you face risks due to other factors as well.
How To File For Religious Asylum
It is important to note that asylum can be a difficult process. An experienced asylum immigration attorney should be consulted to assist in the application process.
Everyone who applies for asylum in the US, regardless of the reason for their application, uses the same forms and processes. The application process has several main steps as follows:
- Complete Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.
- Write a personal statement outlining what happened to you, how you were persecuted and/or why you fear future persecution.
- Collect all the evidence that you can find to support your case.
- Include a Country Conditions section to your asylum case.
Religious Asylum Personal Statement
If you fear persecution in your home country due to your religious beliefs, you would first fill out Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. Then yolu should write a thorough personal statement outlining what happened to you, how you were persecuted and/or why you fear future persecution.
You should also explain what group(s) or how the government is targeting you. The statement should also explain why you cannot relocate to be safe in another location in the country.
applying for asylum based on multiple grounds
If you are applying for asylum based on multiple grounds, it is best to explain all the reasons why the government and/or a particular group is targeting you. Remember to be thorough in explaining the threats to you. Do no limit yourself to “religious asylum” if there are other factors and characteristics that make you a target for persecution in your home country.
After completing the personal statement, you should collect all the evidence that they can find to support your case. Even little things that back up your story are helpful and should be included. It is always good to think about any emails, social media posts, pictures, news items, publications, and any other items that might help to back up your story. An experienced immigration attorney can be particularly useful at this step to help review items of evidence to see if they are useful to your case.
Religious Asylum Country Conditions
Finally, if you have a religious asylum claim, it is also very important to have a Country Conditions section for your asylum case.
This is a section where you include reports, media sources, and/or any other resources that explain the conditions in your home country.
Resources can be in the form of news articles, academic reports, government statistical reports, assessments from non-profit or third-party groups, and many other types. These reports should cover country conditions that are pertinent to your claims and case.
It is also important to include enough reports and resources to adequately show the conditions in your country. One big report, for instance, is generally not enough to establish country conditions.
An immigration attorney who is familiar with asylum would be able to assist and guide you with the various sections and the process of applying for asylum. It is always best to consult and immigration attorney when applying for asylum.
FAQS For What Is Religious Asylum
I was targeted by the government because they think I have renounced my religion, even though I haven’t. Am I still eligible for asylum based on religious grounds?
Yes, you are still eligible for asylum based on religious grounds. If your government, or some uncontrolled group, is persecuting you because they believe something false about your religious beliefs, it is still persecution based on religion. Although the persecution occurs due to an imputed or attributed religious belief, it is still persecution due to religious belief. As long as you can establish and explain how and why your persecutors believe this about you and why they are targeting you, then you are eligible for asylum on religious grounds. In more complicated cases, it is always best to consult an experienced asylum attorney who can assist you in how best to present the facts of your case.
Do I have to include a personal statement with my asylum application?
Although a personal statement or affidavit is not a requirement to apply for asylum, it is highly recommended. A personal statement allows you to describe your situation and the incidents that led you to apply for asylum in a clear and concise manner. It also allows USCIS to be able to understand your history and risks even before your interview. Personal statements also allow you to provide important details to USCIS ahead of time that they may not know to ask about during the interview. The personal statement can be a very helpful tool for your asylum, but it must be carefully prepared and presented. An attorney can help guide you in writing your statement.
What is the 1-year bar for applying for asylum?
One of the requirements to be eligible to apply for asylum is that applicants must apply for asylum within a one-year period from the date of last entry to the US. However, individuals may be eligible for an exception to this one-year bar as long as they can demonstrate some changed circumstances or other extraordinary circumstances that resulted in the delay. This could be changes in conditions in the home country or even changes to the personal situation of the applicant. These changes must be explained and demonstrated as part of the asylum application if the application is submitted more than one-year after the last entry date of the primary applicant. This is true, even if it is one day after the entry date.
Conclusion For What Is Religious Asylum
Religious asylum is a type of asylum request available for anyone who fears persecution in their home country due to their religious beliefs.
However, asylum is not limited to religious grounds only.
People who are persecuted due to their race, nationality, political opinion, and/or membership in a particular social group can also apply for asylum.
Applying for asylum can be a difficult process, and seeking the assistance of an experienced asylum immigration attorney is highly recommended. By following the correct procedures and providing sufficient evidence, anyone who fears persecution in their home country may have a chance to obtain asylum and find safety in the United States.