A stateless individual is someone who, in accordance with national law, does not hold citizenship in any country. Stateless asylum grants individuals the right to seek asylum in the United States and pursue lawful permanent residence (LPR). Seeking asylum can help stateless individuals take the necessary steps to obtain an education, housing, and employment in the United States.
What does it mean to be stateless?
A stateless individual may be considered de jure or legally stateless, not recognized as a citizen by any state's law, or de facto, meaning that, despite holding citizenship claims under the laws of one or more states, they are not recognized as citizens by any state.
Statelessness can severely impact a person and their family's quality of life. Individuals who identify as stateless may have limited access to:
- Health care
- Registration of birth, marriage, or death
- Property rights
- Travel restrictions
- Legal protection
- Voting rights.
How does someone become stateless?
A variety of factors can contribute to statelessness, including:
- The absence of a birth certificate or birth registration.
- Inheritance of nationality from stateless parents, political changes, and territorial transfers may affect the national identity of former states.
- Inequality or discrimination against minorities.
- Restrictive citizenship laws.
- Restrictions on women's right to pass on their nationality to their children.
- Laws affecting children born out of wedlock.
- Laws that prohibit losing or renouncing a nationality without acquiring a substitute first.
Can I apply for asylum in the United States as a stateless person?
Yes, stateless individuals are eligible to apply for asylum in the United States. To qualify for stateless asylum, you must either currently suffer or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political affiliation, or membership in a certain group.
You can apply for asylum in the United States by filling out Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal. This form must be submitted by those who are physically present in the United States but are not considered U.S. citizens. In any case, you must submit your application within one year of your arrival.
Stateless Asylum FAQs
Can stateless people apply for asylum?
How many stateless people exist worldwide?
Do I need a lawyer when applying for Stateless Asylum?
Final Thoughts About Stateless Asylum
If you are a stateless individual, you still have options. You have the right to seek asylum in the United States and apply as a permanent resident. Remember, stateless asylum seekers can qualify for asylum if they currently suffer or fear persecution due to religion, nationality, race, political affiliation, or membership in a certain group. If you have any questions about seeking asylum as a stateless individual, we suggest consulting with an immigration lawyer.