8 U.S. Code § 1158 - Asylum
Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival and including an alien who is brought to the United States after having been interdicted in international or United States waters), irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum in accordance with this section or, where applicable, section 1225(b) of this title.
Paragraph (1) shall not apply to an alien if the Attorney General determines that the alien may be removed, pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement, to a country (other than the country of the alien’s nationality or, in the case of an alien having no nationality, the country of the alien’s last habitual residence) in which the alien’s life or freedom would not be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, and where the alien would have access to a full and fair procedure for determining a claim to asylum or equivalent temporary protection, unless the Attorney General finds that it is in the public interest for the alien to receive asylum in the United States.
Subject to subparagraph (D), paragraph (1) shall not apply to an alien unless the alien demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that the application has been filed within 1 year after the date of the alien’s arrival in the United States.
Subject to subparagraph (D), paragraph (1) shall not apply to an alien if the alien has previously applied for asylum and had such application denied.
An application for asylum of an alien may be considered, notwithstanding subparagraphs (B) and (C), if the alien demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Attorney General either the existence of changed circumstances which materially affect the applicant’s eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing an application within the period specified in subparagraph (B).
Subparagraphs (A) and (B) shall not apply to an unaccompanied alien child (as defined in section 279(g) of title 6).
The Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General may grant asylum to an alien who has applied for asylum in accordance with the requirements and procedures established by the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General under this section if the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General determines that such alien is a refugee within the meaning of section 1101(a)(42)(A) of this title.
The burden of proof is on the applicant to establish that the applicant is a refugee, within the meaning of section 1101(a)(42)(A) of this title. To establish that the applicant is a refugee within the meaning of such section, the applicant must establish that race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant.
The testimony of the applicant may be sufficient to sustain the applicant’s burden without corroboration, but only if the applicant satisfies the trier of fact that the applicant’s testimony is credible, is persuasive, and refers to specific facts sufficient to demonstrate that the applicant is a refugee. In determining whether the applicant has met the applicant’s burden, the trier of fact may weigh the credible testimony along with other evidence of record. Where the trier of fact determines that the applicant should provide evidence that corroborates otherwise credible testimony, such evidence must be provided unless the applicant does not have the evidence and cannot reasonably obtain the evidence.
Considering the totality of the circumstances, and all relevant factors, a trier of fact may base a credibility determination on the demeanor, candor, or responsiveness of the applicant or witness, the inherent plausibility of the applicant’s or witness’s account, the consistency between the applicant’s or witness’s written and oral statements (whenever made and whether or not under oath, and considering the circumstances under which the statements were made), the internal consistency of each such statement, the consistency of such statements with other evidence of record (including the reports of the Department of State on country conditions), and any inaccuracies or falsehoods in such statements, without regard to whether an inconsistency, inaccuracy, or falsehood goes to the heart of the applicant’s claim, or any other relevant factor. There is no presumption of credibility, however, if no adverse credibility determination is explicitly made, the applicant or witness shall have a rebuttable presumption of credibility on appeal.
For purposes of clause (ii) of subparagraph (A), an alien who has been convicted of an aggravated felony shall be considered to have been convicted of a particularly serious crime.
The Attorney General may by regulation establish additional limitations and conditions, consistent with this section, under which an alien shall be ineligible for asylum under paragraph (1).
A spouse or child (as defined in section 1101(b)(1)(A), (B), (C), (D), or (E) of this title) of an alien who is granted asylum under this subsection may, if not otherwise eligible for asylum under this section, be granted the same status as the alien if accompanying, or following to join, such alien.
An unmarried alien who seeks to accompany, or follow to join, a parent granted asylum under this subsection, and who was under 21 years of age on the date on which such parent applied for asylum under this section, shall continue to be classified as a child for purposes of this paragraph and section 1159(b)(3) of this title, if the alien attained 21 years of age after such application was filed but while it was pending.
An asylum officer (as defined in section 1225(b)(1)(E) of this title) shall have initial jurisdiction over any asylum application filed by an unaccompanied alien child (as defined in section 279(g) of title 6), regardless of whether filed in accordance with this section or section 1225(b) of this title.
The Attorney General shall establish a procedure for the consideration of asylum applications filed under subsection (a). The Attorney General may require applicants to submit fingerprints and a photograph at such time and in such manner to be determined by regulation by the Attorney General.
An applicant for asylum is not entitled to employment authorization, but such authorization may be provided under regulation by the Attorney General. An applicant who is not otherwise eligible for employment authorization shall not be granted such authorization prior to 180 days after the date of filing of the application for asylum.
The Attorney General may impose fees for the consideration of an application for asylum, for employment authorization under this section, and for adjustment of status under section 1159(b) of this title. Such fees shall not exceed the Attorney General’s costs in adjudicating the applications. The Attorney General may provide for the assessment and payment of such fees over a period of time or by installments. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to require the Attorney General to charge fees for adjudication services provided to asylum applicants, or to limit the authority of the Attorney General to set adjudication and naturalization fees in accordance with section 1356(m) of this title.
If the Attorney General determines that an alien has knowingly made a frivolous application for asylum and the alien has received the notice under paragraph (4)(A), the alien shall be permanently ineligible for any benefits under this chapter, effective as of the date of a final determination on such application.
The provisions of this section and section 1159(b) of this title shall apply to persons physically present in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or arriving in the Commonwealth (whether or not at a designated port of arrival and including persons who are brought to the Commonwealth after having been interdicted in international or United States waters) only on or after January 1, 2014.
 So in original. Probably should be “sections”.
This chapter, referred to in subsec. (d)(5)(B), (6), was in the original, “this Act”, meaning act June 27, 1952, ch. 477, 66 Stat. 163, known as the Immigration and Nationality Act, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1101 of this title and Tables.
2008—Subsec. (a)(2)(E). Pub. L. 110–457, § 235(d)(7)(A), added subpar. (E).
Subsec. (b)(3)(C). Pub. L. 110–457, § 235(d)(7)(B), added subpar. (C).
Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 110–229 added subsec. (e).
2005—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 109–13, § 101(a)(1), (2), designated existing provisions as subpar. (A), inserted subpar. heading, and substituted “The Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General” for “The Attorney General” and “the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General” for “the Attorney General” in two places.
Subsec. (b)(1)(B). Pub. L. 109–13, § 101(a)(3), added subpar. (B)
Subsec. (b)(2)(A)(v). Pub. L. 109–13, § 101(b), substituted “described in” for “inadmissible under” in two places and struck out “removable under” before “section 1227(a)(4)(B)”.
2002—Subsec. (b)(3). Pub. L. 107–208 reenacted heading without change and amended text generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “A spouse or child (as defined in section 1101(b)(1)(A), (B), (C), (D), or (E) of this title) of an alien who is granted asylum under this subsection may, if not otherwise eligible for asylum under this section, be granted the same status as the alien if accompanying, or following to join, such alien.”
2001—Subsec. (b)(2)(A)(v). Pub. L. 107–56 substituted “(III), (IV), or (VI)” for “(III), or (IV)”.
1996—Pub. L. 104–208 substituted “Asylum” for “Asylum procedure” as section catchline and amended text generally, substituting subsecs. (a) to (d) for former subsecs. (a) to (e).
Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104–132, § 421(a), inserted at end “The Attorney General may not grant an alien asylum if the Attorney General determines that the alien is excludable under subclause (I), (II), or (III) of section 1182(a)(3)(B)(i) of this title or deportable under section 1251(a)(4)(B) of this title, unless the Attorney General determines, in the discretion of the Attorney General, that there are not reasonable grounds for regarding the alien as a danger to the security of the United States.”
1994—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 103–322 added subsec. (e).
1990—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 101–649 added subsec. (d).
Amendment by Pub. L. 110–229 effective on the transition program effective date described in section 1806 of Title 48, Territories and Insular Possessions, see section 705(b) of Pub. L. 110–229, set out as an Effective Date note under section 1806 of Title 48.
Amendment by Pub. L. 107–56 effective Oct. 26, 2001, and applicable to actions taken by an alien before, on, or after Oct. 26, 2001, and to all aliens, regardless of date of entry or attempted entry into the United States, in removal proceedings on or after such date (except for proceedings in which there has been a final administrative decision before such date) or seeking admission to the United States on or after such date, with special rules and exceptions, see section 411(c) of Pub. L. 107–56, set out as a note under section 1182 of this title.
Pub. L. 104–132, title IV, § 421(b), Apr. 24, 1996, 110 Stat. 1270, provided that: “The amendment made by subsection (a) [amending this section] shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act [Apr. 24, 1996] and apply to asylum determinations made on or after such date.”
Section effective Mar. 17, 1980, and applicable to fiscal years beginning with the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 1979, see section 204 of Pub. L. 96–212, set out as an Effective Date of 1980 Amendment note under section 1101 of this title.
For abolition of Immigration and Naturalization Service, transfer of functions, and treatment of related references, see note set out under section 1551 of this title.
Pub. L. 103–322, title XIII, § 130005, Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2028, as amended by Pub. L. 104–208, div. C, title III, § 308(e)(1)(P), (17), Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009–620, 3009–621, provided: