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Can minors apply for asylum in the United States?

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2021 | Asylum/Refugee Status

Laws relating to asylum for individuals seeking entrance into the United States continue to provide opportunities for those seeking escape from war or religious persecution in their own countries, but what options do unaccompanied minors have if they want to apply for asylum?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration notes that while minors can apply for asylum, there are several steps they must take first. Understanding the process may help you or someone you know navigate the process with more ease.

Taking the first steps

There are several circumstances you must meet before you can apply for asylum. These relate to your current status, including:

  • Your age (18 or younger)
  • Your current immigration status
  • The presence of legalized relatives in the United States

If you want to begin this process, you must have a lack of legal status before you can seek asylum.

Immigration court hearings

While it is not necessary to have your parent or guardian present while you seek asylum, you will have to attend immigration hearings. Your filing status does not affect this requirement, and failing to attend may affect your application.

Minor asylum interviews

As a minor seeking asylum, you may have to attend a number of interviews by an asylum officer. This person may also speak with your parents or guardian, even if they do not currently reside in the U.S. and despite their immigration status. These interviews may support your application for asylum, so it is important to answer all questions as completely as possible.

Asylum officers may review an application and verify a minor’s status before holding interviews. Proper filing can help to streamline the overall process.