One of the big differences between asylum and refugee status is that you seek asylum when you’re already in the United States. There are also many cases where people do this at a port of entry, but you may physically be within the country by the time you file.
If you are granted asylum, of course, then you get to stay in the United States to get the protection that you’ve been looking for based on the persecution in your own country. But what if you are not granted asylum? You’re already in the U.S., so do you have to leave as soon as you lose your case?
You then have to go through removal proceedings
You may not have to leave instantly, but an asylum applicant who doesn’t have proper immigration status will be sent to an immigration court if their request for asylum is denied. This court will then begin the removal proceedings.
You may have some options at this time. For instance, you may be able to renew your asylum request, giving you a chance to go before an immigration judge and using what is known as a defensive process. In some cases, those who are denied asylum the first time are actually granted it the second time.
However, if it is never granted, then the next step will be to be removed from the U.S.
Exploring your immigration options
If you are applying for asylum, you likely fear returning home because you know what type of persecution you can face there. This is why it’s very important that you understand all the legal options you have as you work your way through the system.