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February 2011 Archives

Asylum granted! Can you return to your country?

Asylees or permanent residents who became residents through asylum may face obstacles if they return to their country. If such a trip is necessary as for instance a parent is seriously ill or a family emergency occurs that requires the physical presence of the asylee, it is essential to apply before leaving the U.S. for Advance Parole. To leave without first obtaining this document could lead the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to believe that the asylee had abandoned asylum status.It is vital to apply for a refugee travel document that will be valid for one year. This allows the recipient to travel abroad and return without a visa. It is wiser to apply for the Refugee Travel Document before leaving, but it is technically possible to obtain one abroad as well. On returning to the U.S. the asylee will be inspected at the port of entry in the U.S. The Immigration officer will enquire why the trip was necessary and the asylee should be prepared to show why the trip was made under compelling circumstances.Asylees or permanent residents who obtained permanent residence through asylum should remember that the trip abroad may put them at risk. The USCIS may deem that the original application for asylum was fraudulent or that the applicant’s alleged fear of persecution was a pretense to obtain permanent residence. Thus it is important to show that in returning to his/her country the asylee did not seek any benefits or advantages in his country, namely to obtain any rights and privileges that the alien would normally be entitled to as a citizen or resident of that country. It would be best in returning to keep a low profile, and make the trip as short as possible and stick to the main purpose for the trip, namely if the trip was to visit a seriously ill relative to make sure that the trip is chiefly for this. Lastly avoid the appearance of any political activity that would invite the attention of the asylee’s own country’s authorities.
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