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The main distinction between asylees and refugees is procedural. An asylee is a person who seeks asylum in the United States. A refugee is someone who seeks protection while still abroad and is then granted permission to enter the United States as a refugee.

However, both types of applicants must demonstrate that they qualify for protection under U.S. law because they meet the definition of a refugee found in Section 101(a)(42)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) or 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(42)(A).  

The Procedure for Qualifying as Refugee or Asylee

To qualify as a refugee, a person must contact the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to request refugee status.

On the other hand, individuals who are in the United States illegally and have not yet been found and placed in removal proceedings can apply for asylee status by submitting an affirmative asylum claim. If the person is already in removal proceedings, the application can be submitted to the immigration court judge.

The least desirable option is to seek asylum from an official at the point of entry, such as a border crossing or an airport, when you arrive in the United States.

Refugees and Asylee’s rights in the United States

Refugees have the right to stay indefinitely. They receive a work permit and various forms of government support during their first months in the United States. They can seek permanent residence status in the United States after a year in the country. They can also petition for citizenship in the United States after four years.

Asylees also have the legal right to stay in the United States indefinitely. As soon as their asylum application is approved, they can apply for a work permit. Some can apply for a work permit while they’re still in the asylum application process if their case takes a long time to process for reasons not having to do with their own requests for the delay.

After a year of approval for asylee status, asylees can apply for U.S. permanent resident status. They can also petition for citizenship in the United States after four years.

An immigration lawyer can help you attain your refugee or asylee status in the U.S. For more information, get in touch with an immigration deportation attorney at (818)900-5707 today.

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