When a country is in turmoil, there may come times when minors are sent to the United States’ border to try to keep them safe. While coming to the United States without a parent isn’t the best idea, it is possible to apply for asylum while under the age of 18.
Minors and unaccompanied children applying for asylum are allowed to do so if:
- They are under 18
- They have no lawful immigration status in the United States
- They have no legal guardian or parent in the United States to provide for them
- They want to have a separate case from their parents
- They are or are not in immigration court proceedings
Asylum officers are required to consider your application for asylum as long as you meet the criteria set by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services. If you are under 18 and going through immigration court proceedings, you can still apply for asylum but will need to follow the instructions provided by the immigration judge.
Understanding the child interview process
The asylum officers do need to interview children who are applying for asylum while in the United States. They will do so in an age-appropriate manner. They will ask questions to find out if you have parents or guardians in or outside of the country. They may also ask if you were allowed to apply for asylum by that guardian or parent. If possible, the officer may also interview the parent or guardian as well as any other trusted adults who are at your interview.
Why can minors apply for asylum?
Whether a minor is simply underage or comes to the country with no parents or guardians, they can be considered for asylum because the risk of sending them home may be greater than the risks of coming to the country without a guardian. Often, those who arrive on their own do not have guardians or parents, or they are fleeing war, famine or other serious issues in their own countries. Their safety has to be considered, which is why even minors can be considered for asylum and refugee status.