Requesting asylum is a very complicated process and the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) strongly encourages all asylum seekers to find a competent immigration attorney with experience representing asylum seekers. It is important that you only hire a licensed attorney or Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited representative to represent you and that your attorney has immigration, and especially asylum, experience.
- Avoid immigration fraud and do not hire a “notario” to represent you.
- If you do not believe that your attorney is properly representing you, you always have the right to find a new attorney or obtain a second opinion.
Asylum seekers who are in immigration court (deportation) proceedings can obtain information about the immigration process through NIJC’s help desk, located at the Chicago Immigration Court at 525 W. Van Buren Street, Suite 500, Mondays-Fridays.
- For a list of private attorneys with whom you may wish to consult about your case, please visit www.ailalawyer.com or https://www.icirr.org/fsn. You can also view a list of immigration organizations at https://www.immigrationadvocates.org/nonprofit/legaldirectory/.
But if you cannot find an attorney to represent you,
you can request asylum on your own (also known as “pro se”).
If you are in removal (deportation) proceedings and decide to file for asylum on your own, the following materials may assist you:
- Guidelines for filing for asylum pro se while in removal (deportation) proceedings - English
- Guidelines for filing for asylum pro se while in removal (deportation) proceedings - Spanish
- "I'm Afraid to Go Back:" A Guide to Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and the Convention Against Torture
This guide was prepared by staff of the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project (www.firrp.org) with some modification by NIJC for individuals seeking asylum before the Chicago Immigration Court. It is not intended to provide legal advice or serve as a substitute for legal counsel.