<  Eligibility

Criminal Bars to Asylum

 If an applicant has been convicted of a “particularly serious crime” in the United States, that individual is not eligible for asylum. People who have been sentenced to a combined total of 5 or more years of imprisonment for “aggravated felonies,” and people who have criminal convictions related to selling drugs are almost always considered to have committed a particularly serious crime. Other types of criminal convictions that may be considered “particularly serious crimes” are those that involve significant violence, harm, or a serious risk of injury to others. Additionally, an applicant’s commission of a “serious nonpolitical crime” outside of the United States, persecution of others, or participation or support of terrorist groups, may also make the applicant ineligible for asylum. Ultimately, it is an immigration judge who decides whether a crime is particularly serious, an aggravated felony or a serious nonpolitical crime.


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.

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

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