The US provides specific protections for immigrants who suffer persecution in their home countries because of their:
- Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity
- Political Opinion
- Membership in a particular social group
These persecuted individuals may qualify for asylum or refugee status depending on whether they apply from inside or outside the United States. See details from the USCIS here.
Asylum status is granted to immigrants who are already in the US and fear to return to their home countries because of the persecution they face at home. For information on asylum eligibility, see the Asylum Eligibility FAQ on USCIS.gov.
For information about the defensive asylum process, see the Obtaining Asylum in the United States on USCIS.gov.
Note: You must be physically present in the US or seeking entry into the US at a port of entry.
Apply for Asylum with file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, with USCIS within one year of your last arrival in the United States (unless you qualify for an exception to the one-year filing deadline).
Do not submit a completed fingerprint card (FD-258) or fingerprint fee with your application. Your application will be accepted without the fingerprint card attached. Details about how to file your application can be found in the instructions for Form I-589.
Refugee status is granted to immigrants in a US Consulate or Embassy outside of the US when they face persecution in their home country.