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What is asylum?
Asylum allows foreign nationals to remain lawfully in the U.S. indefinitely and, after one year, apply for legal permanent residence. Generally an asylum application must be filed within one year of the applicants last entry into the U.S. An asylum seeker must prove that he or she has suffered past persecution (see below) and/ or has a well-founded fear of future persecution based on one of five grounds or a combination of grounds: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and political opinion. Immigrants who are LGBTH are considered to be members of a particular social group.

For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & HIV-Positive (LGBTH) Immigrants

What is persecution?
Persecution is harm that is inflicted either directly by the government, or by other individuals who the government cannot or will not control. Some examples are: The police contact gay men on the internet and then arrest them when they come to meet for a date A military officer helps a lesbian with a flat tire by picking her up in his jeep, bringing her to a deserted field, and raping her to show her what a real man feels like The police raid a gay club, bring several gay men to the local jail, throw them in with the general population, and tell the criminals to teach these faggots a lesson A transgender woman is beaten up on the street by a gang, telling her to act like a man, when she tries to report the incident to the police, the police tell her if she didnt dress in womens clothes this would not have happened, and they refuse to take a report The partner of a gay man is killed by a mob of angry neighbors when the two are discovered to be a couple; the surviving gay man is afraid to report the incident to the police because homosexuality is illegal in his country

How can I apply?

Please call Immigration Equality: (212) 714-2904 and ask for an intake. Immigration Equality provides free legal services to LGBTH asylum seekers through our Pro Bono Asylum Program. You do not have to provide a consultation fee.

What if I havent suffered persecution?

It is possible, but much more difficult, to win a case based only on the well-founded fear of future persecution. The applicant will have to document very extensively the way that LGBT and/or HIV-positive individuals are mistreated in his or her country and also demonstrate why he or she reasonably believes that he or she will be singled out for persecution if he or she has to return. It is important that you have a consultation with an immigration attorney to understand if you should apply for asylum and, if not, what the risks of filing an application are.