¿Habla español? | Our firm is fluent in English, Spanish, French, Bengali, Creole, Punjabi, Gujarat, and Afrikaans!

  • Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • What’s the Difference Between a Refugee and an Asylee?

What’s the Difference Between a Refugee and an Asylee?

What’s the Difference Between a Refugee and an Asylee?

The words ” Refugee ” and ” Asylee ” are interchangeably used when people are migrating to the United States to seek a better and safer life, especially owing to the similarity in the nature of their statuses. But there are a few noteworthy differences that make each status distinct with its own characteristics. 

The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) defines a refugee as “…(A) any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality or, in the case of a person who does not have a nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion…”

The INA adds that no one who participated in the persecution of another person for the aforementioned reasons is considered a “refugee.” A person who has been forced to have an abortion or undergo involuntary sterilization, refused those procedures, or otherwise resisted a “coercive population control program” is considered to “have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of political opinion,” according to a specific addition made to the INA.

A person must also meet the aforementioned requirements to be granted asylee status. The fact that a refugee is granted refugee status while still outside the United States is the primary distinction between the status of an asylee and a refugee. An asylum seeker is granted status after entering the country or requesting admission at a port of entry.

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) has established processing priorities for individuals and groups of particular humanitarian concern to the United States.

Unless they can demonstrate that an exception to the one-year rule applies, asylum seekers must apply for asylum within one year of their most recent arrival in the United States. In most cases, this occurs in one of two ways: positively, through an asylum officer from the USCIS, or defensively if the individual is the subject of removal proceedings.

An asylum seeker must complete and submit the Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, Form I-589. The principal applicant may be eligible for derivative asylum status on behalf of the applicant’s spouse and children.

Asylees, like refugees, are entitled to an indefinite stay in the United States until it is safe for them to return to their home country. The majority of refugees and asylum seekers are unable to return safely.

Unlike refugees, asylees must apply for employment authorization once their asylum application is improved. If certain conditions are met, they may be able to apply for a work permit while their application is still pending. After receiving approval for their asylum application, asylees can apply for a green card one year later and citizenship four years later.

An asylee is a person who successfully applies for asylum while already in the United States. A refugee is a person who applies for protection in another country (not their own because they fled) and is granted permission to enter the United States as a refugee. That is, their primary distinction is a methodical one.

Although the criteria for being considered a refugee in the United States are much more stringent, the number of asylees granted legal status each year is significantly higher than that of refugees. The President decides how many refugees will be allowed to enter the United States annually.

On the other hand, over the past decade, the country has accepted between 20,000 and 30,000 asylum seekers annually. China, Venezuela, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Haiti are frequently visited by Americans seeking asylum.

At the law offices of Gehi and Associates, our immigration attorneys are equipped to deal with legal issues and have substantial experience. Therefore, it can provide one with high-quality legal services as per the admission requirements.

For more information, you can directly call our law office or send an email to the addresses.

Share it!

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Search

Search

Free Consultation

Scroll to Top

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Signup to our email newsletter for Legal Updates, Tips & Webinars!

Skip to content