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Can I Apply for Asylum if I Missed the One-Year Deadline?

U.S. asylum laws state that if you are applying for asylum, must clearly demonstrate with convincing documentation that:

  • You are filing for asylum within one year from the date of your last arrival in the United States
    OR
  • You are eligible for an exception to the one-year filing requirement.

Asylum laws are clear on this important point: Even if you have missed the one-year deadline for applying for asylum, you can still apply if your situation meets certain criteria and is covered by one of the specific “exceptions” allowed by U.S. immigration laws. You may apply for asylum regardless of your immigration status–even if you are illegally in the United States.

Calculating the One-Year Filing Deadline

The filing deadline is calculated from your last arrival date in the U.S. up to the same calendar day the following year. For example, if you arrived in the U.S. on May 24, 2016, and your asylum application is filed no later than May 24, 2017, you will meet the required one-year filing deadline.

Exceptions to the One-Year Asylum Filing Deadline

Asylum laws allow for certain changed or extraordinary circumstances that could have prevented you from filing your application on time:

  • Changed Circumstances
    • Home country conditions have changed and now have particular significance to the facts of your individual case regarding repression and persecution of certain political, sexual, religious, ethnic, or social groups.
    • Personal conditions have changed such as: a) While in the U.S., you have changed religions to one that is now persecuted in your home country; b) You have become politically active against your home country’s government.
    • Applicable U.S. asylum laws have changed resulting in you now being eligible for asylum when, in the past, you were not eligible
    • The end of the applicant’s dependent relationship to a spouse or parent on a previous asylum application. This change would require that the former dependent must now file a new asylum application.
  • Extraordinary Circumstances Related to the Delay
    • Maintaining lawful status – U.S. regulations state that if you maintain lawful immigration status during at least part of the one-year period after your last arrival in the U.S., it may be considered as an extraordinary circumstances exception to the one-year filing deadline, as long as you file within a reasonable time (we recommend within 90 days) after you fall out of status.
    • Circumstances beyond your control which prevented you from filing in the required one-year filing period such as:
      • Psychological illness or trauma – In this situation, you can have a professional psychologist perform a psychological evaluation of your emotional state and substantiate that your psychological condition prevented you from filing your application on time.
        For example, here at Nalbandian Law, one of our asylum clients had PTSD for four years as a result of harm he suffered in his country which made it impossible for him to file on time. Our legal team filed his application within a reasonable time after his PTSD symptoms improved. His well-documented asylum application included a detailed psychological evaluation which proved he had PTSD. His asylum application was approved
      • Ineffective representation by counsel prevented you from filing by the deadline.

If you can establish one of the exceptions mentioned above, you need to file the application without unreasonable delay—preferably within 90 days after the established exception, but definitely not longer than 6 months since in most circumstances this would be considered an unreasonable delay.

Asylum Consultation

If you have any questions about filing for asylum, even if it has been more than 1 year since your entry into the US, please call (818) 244-0310 to speak to an expert immigration attorney.

*Approval rates do not guarantee future approval of your petition. No attorney can ethically guarantee any outcome. Always consult with a licensed, competent immigration attorney such as the experienced immigration attorneys at Nalbandian Law before filing your case.

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Mr. Nalbandian was the lawyer who handled my wife's Green card case. Thanks to him everything went well and at very timely manner. I would recommend him with most confidence.

- Jose Garcia, CA