Exceptions to the 1 Year Asylum Rule

What are the exceptions to the one year rule asylum application filing deadline?

Exceptions to the one year deadline fall into two categories, “changed circumstances” and “extraordinary circumstances.” Even if you meet one of these exceptions, you must file within a reasonable time, which is generally understood to mean within a few months. You can still be eligible for asylum even if you miss the deadline, but it is paramount to your case that you apply in time and present the information about your situation properly so it is clear that you deserve the extra time to file because of these certain exceptions. For more help and a free initial consultation with experienced immigration attorneys about submitting your asylum application past the one year deadline, please call or email us. Our Los Angeles attorneys, who come under our NJ legal services, specialize in immigration law, and we can help you with your immigration case.


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How to Prove That the “Changed Circumstance” Exception Applies to Your Asylum Application

You must show that some kind of “changed circumstance” either in your personal life, or in conditions in the U.S., or in your home country affected your eligibility for asylum. In addition, you must show that you filed within a reasonable time after the circumstance occurred or after you learned of it. Any delays in your learning of the changed circumstances will also be considered by an Asylum Officer or an Immigration Judge. There are many ways in which a changed circumstance might occur.

For example, if:

  • you are now afraid to return home even though when you entered the U.S. you did not have any fear because (1) people like you (other people of your race, religion, political affiliation or tribal membership) are now persecuted in your home country, or (2) after leaving your home country, you became newly involved in political or religious activities and this involvement places you at risk of persecution
  • you are now eligible for asylum although you might not have been eligible before because U.S. asylum law has changed,
  • you must now apply for asylum on your own because your relationship to a primary asylum applicant (such as a spouse or a parent) has ended or changed


How to Prove That the “Extraordinary Circumstance” Exception Applies to Your Asylum Application

Other life events might be considered “extraordinary circumstances” for the purposes of this exception. You must show that events in your own life directly relate to your failure to file within the one-year filing deadline. In addition you must show that you filed within a reasonable period after the extraordinary circumstance stopped affecting you. Extraordinary circumstances cannot be intentionally created through your own action or inaction.

Determining if an extraordinary circumstance exists depends on all of the facts of your case. Here are some examples:

  • You suffered a serious psychiatric or medical illness or you were legally disabled during at least a part of the one-year filing period.
  • You lost a member of your immediate family or your legal guardian through death or serious illness
  • You experienced other personal conditions that were so extreme and detrimental that they made you unable to file on time.
  • You had been here in lawful status during at least a part of the one-year period, such as with Temporary Protective Status, as a lawful immigrant, or nonimmigrant status.
  • you filed your application within a year, but it was rejected for corrections, and you refiled it more than one year after your arrival.
  • You consulted with an attorney who provided ineffective assistance or committed malpractice and you have filed a complaint against the attorney.

If you would like assistance with your immigration case or have any questions or concerns, please call or email our helpful Los Angeles immigration attorneys. At JCS Immigration and Visa Law Office, your case is our priority and our experienced staff is ready to help you today!


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What is a “Reasonable Time” to file for asylum after a Changed or Extraordinary Circumstance?

If you claim that an exception to the filing deadline should apply to you, you must also prove that you filed your asylum application within a reasonable time after you knew about the changed or extraordinary circumstance.

The facts of your particular case will determine what amounts to a “reasonable time.” In addition to the specific events that caused your delay in filing, and Asylum Officer or Immigration Judge might also consider:

  • Delays that affected when you first became aware of the changed circumstance
  • your educational background and language skills
  • how difficult or how long it takes to obtain legal help
  • any ongoing physical or emotional effects of your persecution.

Generally, a delay of just a few months might be considered “reasonable,” however this is a very time sensitive issue. Therefore, try to file your application as soon as possible after the occurrence of any changed or extraordinary circumstance. You will need to provide detailed and credible evidence regarding your filing within a “reasonable” time. Our asylum lawyers are experienced in these matters and know what kind of evidence is persuasive to Asylum Officers and Immigration Judges. We can help you make a strong argument so that you have a better opportunity to proceed with your asylum application. Our Los Angeles immigration attorneys can offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Call or email us for an appointment.

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