24. Assembling Everything

The information contained herein is for reference only and may not be up to date. It does not constitute legal advice. You should always consult an attorney regarding your matter.

Once you’ve prepared all the required documents for whatever stage of the asylum application you’re working on, all that remains is to assemble it all.

Immigration files (both at the Asylum Office and in Immigration Court) are held together by two-hole punched paper fasteners at the top of the page, so this is the best way to keep your documents together. Do not print double-sided, as every other page will appear upside-down in light of the top-side binding! Also, do not coil-bind your submissions or otherwise make them difficult to disassemble, because the adjudicator will need to drop your submissions into their own file.

Submissions should be tabbed, either with commercial exhibit tabs, or by creating tabs on your computer that say “Exhibit 1,” etc, in large print on the bottom of the page. Tabs for affirmative filings go on the bottom of the page, and those for defensive filings go on the right side of the page.

Your goal in assembling your asylum packet is to make it as easy as possible for an adjudicator to find the important documents in the packet. It is therefore often a good idea to index the documents specific to your client (medical records, arrest records, letters, etc.) with Exhibit letters (i.e. “Exhibit A,”) and index the country conditions documents with Exhibit numbers (i.e. “Exhibit 1”.) Include brightly colored paper in between new sections of the documentation, for example, before the client’s declaration, before the index, and before the country conditions documents.

If your country conditions documentation is very large, it’s okay to submit it as a separate packet.

You should keep one copy of all submissions for yourself.

Never submit originals of identity documents (passports, drivers’ licenses, government identification cards, birth certificates, etc.) unless ordered to do so by an immigration official. You should send in photocopies and have your client bring the originals to the interview. You should send the asylum application and any subsequent submission via overnight courier service or some other reliable delivery service where, if necessary, you can prove the date of receipt by Citizenship and Immigration Services or the immigration court.

This Manual is intended to provide information to attorneys and accredited representatives. It is not intended as legal advice. Asylum seekers should speak with qualified attorneys before applying.

This handbook is intended for use by pro bono attorneys and immigration attorneys working on LGBTQ/HIV asylum cases.

Self-help asylum guides for LGBTQ and HIV-positive people without attorneys.


Detention Hotline

If you are in detention, call:

(917) 654-9696 | M-W 9:30 - 5:30pm & Th 1:00 - 5:30pm

Calls from people outside of detention will not be accepted.