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Measuring the One-Year Deadline for Asylum

Last updated on Jul 19th, 2017

Measuring the one-year deadline is critically important for people who want to apply for asylum.

The general rule about the one-year deadline is easy to state: apply for asylum before one year from the date of your most recent arrival. The general rule is easy to state, but the exceptions to the rule and how they apply are not simple. Whether it makes sense to submit an application without certain “required” things is not so easy to state is also permit a simple answer. There is a lot of room for confusion.

What’s the room for confusion?

There’s space for confusion involving when the clock starts. Let’s say you enter the US on June 2, 2017, do you have until 11:59:59 PM on June 1, 2017 before your asylum application is considered late? Do you have until the close of the business day on June 1? And what if June 1 falls on a weekend? Do you have all of June 2? How do “leap years” affect everything?

In addition to these questions, what is the action that must take place by the deadline? Is it that USCIS or the immigration court must mark the application as “received”? Or is it that USCIS or the immigration court must mark the application as “filed”? Or is it that you must have evidence that the application has been delivered? Or is it that you have evidence that you sent the application by the required date?

It is important to know some of the relevant rules.

If the applicant has “clear and convincing” documentary evidence that he or she has mailed the asylum application package by the deadline, that is enough. However, if the applicant does not have clear and convincing proof of this, then the date that the application is received (so long as it is not later “rejected”). The application must be received by the deadline.

The deadline is measured with the day after arrival counting as day 1. This way of stating the deadline, however, might not be very clarifying. Stated in different terms, if you enter the US on June 2, 2017 and you mail your asylum application package by June 3, 2018, you’ve complied with the 1-year deadline (assuming you have clear and convincing evidence of sending it).

While this blog post may address some areas of concern for an asylum applicant, there are a lot of other areas that should cause concern for a prudent applicant who decides he or she wants to apply without the help of a law firm.

The asylum application is so important. For many people, it is the difference between a decent life in the US and being removed to a country where personal hardships will abound. There are a lot of mistakes that might occur in applying for asylum. There are a lot of things that might go wrong.

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