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Credible Fear Interview: A Critical Step in the Asylum Process

This article is part of Documented’s Glossary. We want to make it easier for all to understand the US immigration system. If you want to know more about different visa types and immigration terms, please check our library here.

Immigrants facing expedited removal proceedings in the United States, but fearing persecution for their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group in their home countries, may be eligible to seek asylum through the defensive asylum process. As a part of this asylum request process, applicants are subject to a “credible fear interview” with an asylum officer.

The officer will determine whether “the applicant has a credible fear of persecution or torture” and if the applicant has a significant possibility of winning a case for asylum in front of an immigration judge, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Asylum Interview

An asylum interview is required as part of the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 8. The credible fear determination is a screening process, not a decision on whether they will receive asylum. If an asylum officer finds that the applicant has a credible fear of persecution, the individual will be referred to an immigration judge for a full hearing on their claim.

Also read: Visa H-2B, a program for temporary jobs in the US

How Do You Get A Credible Fear Interview?

Asylum officers conduct interviews when you are subject to expedited removal and you tell Customs and Border Protection (CBP):

  • You wish to apply for asylum
  • You fear persecution or torture
  • You fear returning to your country

What Happens If The Officer Declines Your Petition?

If the asylum officer does not find that you have a credible fear of persecution or torture, you may request that an IJ review that determination. If you do not request review by the IJ or the IJ agrees with the determination, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may extradite you from the United States.

Also read: EB-5 visa, a permanent residency by investing in the US

On What Basis Your Petition Could Be Denied?

You may not be granted asylum or withholding of removal if:

  • You have persecuted others on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion
  • You have been convicted of a particularly serious crime
  • There are serious reasons for believing you committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside the United States
  • You have engaged in terrorist activity, are likely to engage in terrorist activity, have incited terrorist activity, or are a member or representative of a terrorist organization
  • You were firmly resettled
  • There are reasonable grounds to believe that you are a danger to the security of the United States

Also read: I-751 Form, petition to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence

More Information About Asylum and Credible Fear Interview

Please read USCIS’s Q&A about Credible Fear Interview

The Credible Fear Interview is just one step in the asylum proces. Please read this guide on Asylum made by USCIS.

Guide on Credible Fear and the asylum process by the National Immigrant Justice Center . (In Spanish, en español)

Guide on Passing a Credible/Reasonable Fear Interview by Immigration Equality.

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