Understanding Asylum: Credible Fear

Unfortunately, the world can be a scary place. Throughout history, certain people have faced persecution, threats, or violence due to traits like their race or religion. Because of the prevalence of such cases, countries across the world offer asylum. Asylum provides shelter from harm, allowing individuals and families to live free from fear and strife. But, achieving asylum status in the United States (U.S.) is very challenging. Foreign nationals must meet all eligibility requirements, hold no bars to asylum, and provide proof that their claims of fear are true. This final requirement is often called “credible fear.”

If you are seeking asylum, you need the assistance of a qualified immigration attorney. The consideration process for asylum seekers can take a long time, and current caseloads are intense for both affirmative and defensive asylum. Legal counsel will help you process paperwork efficiently and correctly, preventing delays or denials. Further, a lawyer will protect your rights and ensure fair consideration. For your convenience, Davis & Associates offers free consultations with our expert lawyers.

Today’s article will review basic qualifications for asylum and discuss credible fear. What is it? How is it determined? And, what role does it play for asylees?

The Basics Of Asylum

Asylum provides safe harbor for those who fear persecution or violence in their home country. Those who apply for asylum must meet a specific set of criteria. You can find very detailed information on the USCIS’s website.

In short, a person can seek asylum if they have suffered previous persecution or fear future consequences because of their:

  • Race;
  • Religion;
  • Nationality;
  • Political opinions; and/or
  • Membership in a specific social group.

During an asylum case, the idea of fear is often discussed. Establishing “credible fear” is very important – it is critical to successfully petitioning for asylum. But what exactly does it mean?

What Is Credible Fear?

According to the USCIS, credible fear equals a “significant possibility” that a person or family will face severe consequences, including persecution, physical harm, or even death upon return to their home. When credible fear exists, it is more likely than not that such terrible effects will occur, justifying a request for asylum.

Credible fear is most often discussed with defensive removal proceedings, but the idea of proving likelihood of persecution applies to all asylum cases. The United Nations provides an in-depth guide to credible fear and the defensive asylum process here.

Credible Fear Doesn’t Guarantee Asylum

Most importantly, establishing credible fear does not mean that a case will ultimately succeed. A candidate must also meet the definition of a refugee, be eligible for asylum, and not possess any bars to asylum. Proving credible fear simply means that a person can be considered for asylum. In the case of affirmative asylum, this means that an asylum officer will consider awarding asylum after carefully reviewing the results of your interview. During defensive asylum proceedings, passing a credible fear screening means that a person will go before an immigration judge to plead their case.

How Do Officials Determine Credible Fear?

U.S. government officials determine credible fear by reviewing a person’s claims and talking with them during an interview. Both affirmative and defensive asylum seekers must be interviewed during their asylum proceedings. But, the process is more comfortable for those seeking affirmative asylum.

For example, even the USCIS calls defensive asylum interviews “adversarial” and “court-like.” For defensive asylum applicants, proving credible fear is absolutely essential – otherwise, deportation looms.  In some instances, defendants may be eligible for expedited removal upon denial of asylum. You can read more about the differences between affirmative and defensive asylum here.

Talk To An Expert Miami Immigration Lawyer

You don’t need to face asylum proceedings alone. It can be daunting to consider the long process that awaits – but an experienced attorney can help. Not only can appropriate legal counsel lessen the burden of paperwork and legal proceedings, but those asylum seekers who have legal counsel are more likely to achieve their desired outcome. Any error or mistake can lead to a delay of proceedings or denial of your case. The circumstances can feel dire, especially during defensive asylum proceedings, but remember – hope exists.

Contact Davis & Associates today – we proudly represent clients in Miami, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston. Our professional and caring staff work tirelessly to deliver top-tier legal services to the communities we serve. If you hope to seek affirmative or defensive asylum, your best ally is a skilled immigration attorney.

In order to ensure we provide the highest standard of legal counsel, we offer free initial consultations. Contact us today to arrange a time to sit down with a member of our legal team!