Refugee status is a form of protection that may be granted to people who meet the definition of refugee and who are of special humanitarian concern to the United States. Refugees are generally people outside of their country who are unable or unwilling to return home because they fear serious harm. You may seek a referral for refugee status only from outside of the United States.
Asylum status is a form of protection available to people who:
- Meet the definition of refugee
- Are already in the United States
- Are seeking admission at a port of entry
You may apply for asylum in the United States regardless of your country of origin or your current immigration status. Asylum seekers come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to:
- Membership in a particular social group
- Political opinion