Individuals in the US who are afraid of persecution in their home country may file for asylum in the US. Asylum is a type of protection the US government grants someone who has been persecuted or fears future persecution, in their home country.

Part of the asylum filing process is to write an asylum statement, and we will take a close look at how to write an asylum statement.

Individuals who demonstrate past or potential future persecution, due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and/or due to their political opinion, are generally eligible for asylum. This is true as long as the persecution is carried out by the government and/or a group that the government cannot or will not control. 

Asylum Application Rules and Your Personal Statement

Although there are several ways to apply for asylum, including an affirmative asylum application process and a defensive asylum application process, the rules, requirements, and best practices are often the same.

For example, if you are filing for asylum, you should consider submitting a personal declaration as part of your asylum application. A personal declaration, or personal statement, explaining your story and why you are filing for asylum is generally helpful to your case. Although a personal statement is not strictly required, it is often better to have a well-written declaration submitted prior to your interview or court date.

What To Include In Your Personal Asylum Statment

In the personal statement, you have the ability to explain what happened to you in your home country clearly and without interruption.

A well-written personal statement also helps the Immigration Judge or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer by giving them the opportunity to read about your story and understand the grounds of your case ahead of time.

It is always a good idea to work with an experienced immigration attorney when applying for asylum, especially as immigration attorneys can help you with your personal statement to ensure that your statement is the best possible for your case.

Beginning To Write An Asylum Statement

Many asylum applicants are uncertain about how to write a personal statement and don’t know what type of information to include. While there are no exact official rules about how to write a personal statement, there are a number of things to keep in mind to help you write your story.

Personal Asylum Statment Introduction

First, the statement should begin with a general introduction of yourself and your dependents on your asylum case. This section may include the names and birthdates of all applicants/dependents as well as the location of births, and citizenship country or countries. You can also provide background information including your education status, especially if this information is important to your case or it helps readers understand your current status and situation.

The introduction section is specifically an introduction point to your statement, so it is best to include information that you feel will best help the judge or officer understand who you are. 

Write An Asylum Statment In Multiple Sections

There are multiple ways to write a personal statement. For example, you could write down all the things that happened to you in chronological order, this means that you would describe everything that occurred in the order that they happened to you.

Or you could write your statement in sections describing what you are afraid of and using the incidents that happened to you as examples of the persecution you are afraid of. You could also create a statement that combines different styles.

What To Include In Your Asylum Statment

There is no exact formula for describing your story. Instead, what is important to keep in mind is that you make sure to include the following items:

  • Explain the persecution you experienced and/or the persecution you fear will happen in your country, and explain why you are or will be persecuted.
  • Make sure to describe how the persecution is due to or connected to your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and/or due to your political opinion.
  • Describe everything that happened to you in your country that made you leave the country.
  • Explain what you fear will happen to you if you returned and explain who/what group you are afraid of.
  • Include any incidents that depict your fears such as incidents of threats, warnings, attacks, violence, and/or any other harm, etc.
  • Include descriptions of incidents or targeting of other family members or even friends if they face similar risks or are similar to you in their situation.
  • Explain why you cannot relocate to any other part of your country to be safe and explain why the government or law enforcement cannot, will not, or did not help you.
  • Somewhere at the beginning or end of your statement make sure to include the following phrase:
    • “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of The United States that the foregoing is true and correct.”

Once you have completed the statement, make sure to sign and date the document. You may also want to consider going to an official notary and signing the document before them so they can notarize the statement. Again, this is NOT a requirement, but it does add a layer of verification to show that you did in fact sign the document. 

How Much Detail to Include On Your Asylum Statement

When you are writing your story, do not get held up by unimportant details. Make sure to include details that are helpful to your case, but it is not important to describe every color, shape, and smell of every incident. When there are too many details included, the reader can get overwhelmed.

Similarly, many applicants think that they must include every single date and time that something happened, but they often have trouble remembering these details. You do not have to be so exact. If you cannot independently recollect a date or time, then do not include it. You can make more general statements about the date. For instance, you might say that it happened in “early January.”

If you can’t remember the month, you could say “at the beginning of the year.” Sometimes it is even ok to say something happened a “few weeks or months later.” Just make sure that you do not guess on dates and write them into the statement because if you can’t remember the date you wrote during the interview, the officer or judge could think that you are not telling the truth.

Addressing Major Changes With Your Asylum Statement

In addition to these details, make sure to address any major changes in your country since you left, if it makes a difference to your story. If there have been major elections or if social or political conditions have changed, make sure to explain why you are still in danger despite these changes. Similarly, if there have been additional developments to your case since you came to the US, please make sure to include this in your statement as well.

For instance, if you have found out that people have been searching for you since you left, or if family or friends have been threatened because of you, or if more warnings have been issued to you or about you, make sure to provide this information.

Also, if you have continued to engage in activity that puts you at risk in your country, especially activities like posting on social media, or publishing information some other way, make sure to describe this and explain why it puts you even more at risk for persecution.

Keep in mind that any major developments should be at least mentioned in your personal statement. You will always have the opportunity to discuss details and specifics in your interview or before the judge, but you don’t want to leave out anything that will be important to discuss at that time.

FAQs To Write An Asylum Statement

How long should an asylum personal statement be?

There is no exact length that an asylum personal statement must be. However, the statement should generally be more than 1 page using a standard font and a standard size. The length of your statement should really be decided by your story. You should worry less about the exact length of the statement and more about whether you have explained your statement clearly with all the necessary information and details. With that said, you also don’t want to include so many details and extra information that the statement becomes something so long that a person does not want to read it.

Is there an exact template or best way to write a statement?

There is no exact template or best way to write a statement. There are general recommendations for the type of information to include in your statement that can help you write a good statement. You may also want to look at some sample statements to get an idea of how other people wrote statements; however, make sure to look at multiple statements and understand that no two statements are alike and the specifics of your story should determine the format of your statement. It is also always a good idea to work closely with an immigration attorney who can help you write the story as well as review and provide recommendations to make your statement the best possible.

How should I write my statement if my English is not good?

If you feel comfortable writing your personal statement in English, and you believe you can explain your story, you should go ahead and write it in English. Grammatical mistakes are not a problem. USCIS officers and Immigration Judges do not care about grammar mistakes; they want to understand what happened to you. As long as you can explain your story clearly, you can write it in English. It is often better not to get someone to change your story into perfect written English because it will be clear to the officer or judge that someone significantly changed your statement. It is better to leave your statement in your voice.However, if you feel that your written English is so poor that the reader will not be able to fully understand, or if you feel that you cannot completely explain yourself, then it might be better to translate your statement. In this case, you can write your statement in your native language, sign and date it, and then have your statement translated into English. It is best to discuss your options with an immigration attorney who can guide you with your specific case.

Conclusion On How To Write An Asylum Statment

Your personal statement is an important part of your asylum application. The asylum personal statement gives you the opportunity to tell your story and describe why you are seeking asylum. There are many different ways to write your asylum personal statement. If you have any questions about applying for asylum or writing your personal statement, consult a trained immigration attorney.