Over 70 million mothers, fathers, and children have been forced to flee their countries to survive difficult times. Some are running from political unrest, some from war, and some from persecution due to discrimination. Unfortunately, some countries still inflict injustice on their people, but the US can help you protect yourself and your family.
If you are looking to get citizenship in America, you may be wondering what the process for that looks like. There are two terms that are often used interchangeably– refugee and asylum seeker. However, these two labels are not the same and have some key differences. To file an accurate application, click here to learn more and hire an attorney.
Understanding the primary difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker
In order to understand the difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker, one needs to know what each of these terms means.
- A refugee is someone who has run away from their native or home country due to war, persecution, or unjust treatment from the government. These people are often too scared to return to their own country because they believe their lives will be endangered.
When refugees flee their home country, they are registered with the United States and gain refugee status. They are then given international aid and assistance. The UN protects these people and does not force them to return to their country where they may get persecuted.
However, a person is only granted refugee status if their story meets the definition of a refugee.
- Asylum seekers are migrants who have fled their home country but lack refugee status and are not recognized by the UN. They do not have an official status as a refugee when they enter their host country. When a person arrives at the port of entry in the US and requests protection, they become asylum seekers.
Today, there are about five million asylum seekers looking to enter the US.
As you can see, refugees and asylum seekers have many things in common: both flee from their home country and are afraid to go back to protect their lives. However, the difference resides in their statuses. Depending on how a fleeing person is defined, they get benefits, aid, help, support, and rights.
Asylum seekers must file a citizenship application within one year of arriving in the US. It can be difficult to get citizenship if you miss the one-year deadline unless you can provide them with a valid reason.