Lonely girl looking at an empty cupMost immigrants come to the United States for employment or family reasons. However, immigration is sometimes based on humanitarian or other special considerations.There are special visas for these purposes.

Refugee Status Requires Residence Abroad

You may be able to enter the United States as a refugee. To qualify, you must have a reasonable fear of persecution in your home country because of your race, your religion, your nationality, your political beliefs, or your membership in a particular social group. In addition, you must show that you have not been permanently resettled in a third country. The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program will determine whether or not you qualify. Once admitted, you may work legally and apply for permanent residence.

Temporary Protected Status

If conditions in your homeland are too dangerous for a safe return, you might be allowed to immigrate to the United States temporarily. A civil war, for example, might allow you to apply for this status. Temporary protected status (TPS) is granted only to nationals of countries specially designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security. You may apply for TPS with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If your application is successful, you may be allowed to work. However, you cannot apply for permanent residence.

Deferred Enforced Departure

The deferred enforced departure program is designed for people already granted TPS whose status has expired, but who are nationals of a country for which the president has granted an extension. You may be able to qualify even if you are in the United States illegally. You cannot be deported until your extended status expires. You cannot apply for permanent residence based on this status.

Victims of Crime

Victims of crimes in violation of U.S. laws can seek a non-immigrant visa to enter the United States. These special visas were created to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, female genital mutilation, human trafficking, slavery, torture, and other crimes. Certain family members are also eligible.

A Lawyer Can Help

The law surrounding asylum for refugees and crime victims is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an immigration lawyer.

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