Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, genderqueer, or HIV positive can be grounds for an asylum claim. In more than 70 countries, some aspect of being LGBTQ is a crime. Even if it is not illegal to be LGBTQ, it may nevertheless be fundamentally unsafe to be a member of the community. Facing fear, harassment and sometimes violence because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status, people reach out to Immigration Equality from all over the world.
Asylum is an immigration benefit that allows certain foreign nationals who fear persecution to remain lawfully in the U.S. indefinitely. If a person does not qualify for asylum, they may qualify for withholding of removal, or deferral of removal under the Convention against Torture (CAT).
Important Note: Unfortunately, right now a filing deadline exists that renders many LGBTQ people ineligible for asylum. The way the law is currently written one must apply for asylum within one year of arriving in the United States. There are some exceptions to the filing deadline rule (see below), but they are narrow and sometimes difficult to prove. Because the filing deadline was created by statutory law, only Congress can make the change we need. Asylum claims should be considered based on merit, not compliance with an arbitrary deadline.
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.
Immigration Equality Joins 100+ LGBTQ Organizations to Condemn Racial Violence
Today, we join together again to say #BlackLivesMatter and commit ourselves to the action those words require.