In order to initiate the asylum process, you must be physically present in the U.S., regardless as to whether you have the legal authority to enter or remain in the country. You must fill out and submit Form I-589, which is the Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal to U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS), within one year of your most recent arrival in the U.S., although there are narrow exceptions to this rule. You will need to be fingerprinted and undergo background and security checks. Finally, you will undergo an interview with an asylum officer, who will determine your eligibility for asylum. If you disagree with the asylum officer’s determination, then your case will be referred to an immigration judge with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), who will hold a hearing and review your case. While your application for asylum is pending before USCIS or at the EOIR, you can remain in the U.S., although you are unlikely to receive a work permit during that time period. To be eligible for asylum, you must prove that you have been persecuted, or have a well-founded fear of future persecution, on the basis of your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, if you return to your native country. Persecution can take many forms, such as physical violence, threats of death, detention, torture, rape, and sexual violence. Many of the cases that immigration courts hear each day also involve pending asylum claims, and others are deportation proceedings that are totally unrelated to asylum. The evidence is uncontroverted that legal representation greatly improves your chances of success in deportation proceedings in immigration court. Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., knows federal immigration law and has the experience to guide you and advocate on your behalf throughout any type of deportation proceeding, no matter what the allegations may be. We are familiar with the wide range of defenses that are available to individuals facing deportation, and how to build the strongest defense that is available to you, based on the evidence relevant to your case. Contact your California deportation defense lawyers today and discover what we can do for you.