In general, if a person is a victim of persecution, or fears persecution, in their home country based on race, religious beliefs, political affiliations, nationality, or membership in certain social organizations, that person can seek asylum in the United States. However, that person must petition for asylum within one year of entering the United States.
Even with this restriction, other avenues may be available to people who are already in the United States, but change their religious or political affiliations while in the United States. If this occurs, and the person reasonably believes he or she will be persecuted because of such affiliations or beliefs if forced to return to their home country, asylum may be a way to legally stay in the United States.
If and when a person is granted asylum, that person can petition to bring his or her spouse and children (under the age of 21 years) to the United States. In order to do this, the person filing the petition must file the petition within two years of being granted asylum, unless certain humanitarian reasons exist for missing the deadline.
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