Both refugees and asylum seekers (sometimes known as asylees) are those fleeing persecution, war, and other such disasters in their homelands. Often, these are people who wish they could live in their home countries but who cannot safely do so because of their political opinions, race, religion or other such factors.
The end goal for each is to live safely in the United States. But if they’re fleeing similar things and seeking a similar outcome, why are there two different categories? What are the differences between the two?
Location is the key to your status
The biggest difference is often location: Where someone is at the time may determine which category they fall into.
For instance, refugees generally leave their home countries and enter another country that has refugee camps. They are safer, but they still don’t want to stay in that camp endlessly. They get status as a refugee and then attempt to come to the United States.
Asylum seekers, on the other hand, are already here. Some are within the United States when they ask for a status change. Others are at a port of entry. Either way, though, they are not living in the relative safety of a refugee camp. They are trying to enter the U.S. in an emergency and then they want to apply for status as an asylum seeker after the fact.
What do you need to do?
Both of these statuses can help you achieve your goals. You just need to know which category you fall into and all of the legal steps you will need to take to make your immigration goals a reality in the future. Experienced guidance can help.