Asylum based on sexual orientation (“gay asylum”) and/or gender identity are well-established grounds for asylum where an individual has suffered persecution in the past or has a well-founded fear of persecution if returned to their home country. Because of the extremely difficult and dangerous conditions for LGBT people in many countries, asylum on the basis of sexual orientation can be an effective means of obtaining lawful status in the United States.
At Wiley & Jobson, our lawyers have helped many gay, lesbian and transgender applicants obtain asylum, including individuals from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Contact us for more information.
As in other asylum cases, the law requires that an applicant apply for asylum within one year of his or her last entry into the United States. There are exceptions to the one-year deadline, including extraordinary circumstances and changed circumstances. Some examples of exceptions that have been accepted by the Asylum Office and the Immigration Court include serious illness, psychological difficulties, maintenance of other lawful immigration status until a reasonable time before applying, changes in the home country that increase the risk of persecution, or changes in the applicant’s status or activities that increase the risk of persecution, which may include “coming out,” or gender transition. This list is not exhaustive, and if you have missed the filing deadline but are afraid to return to your country, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible.
For more information about our ability to help with lesbian or gay asylum applications or LGBT visa or removal problems, contact an immigration lawyer at Wiley & Jobson.