Asylum is a type of protection that allows you to stay in the United States if you have suffered past persecution or fear that you will suffer persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Asylum is only available within one year of your most recent entry. There are a few exceptions to this rule. The application allows you to apply for your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old. If you are granted asylum, you are eligible to become a permanent resident after having the Asylee status for a year.
Asylum can either be applied for affirmatively or defensively. An affirmative asylum simply means that you filed the asylum application with USCIS before you had any problems with immigration. A defensive asylum is typically filed before an Immigration Judge in Immigration Court.
Withholding of Removal
Withholding or Removal is similar to asylum but has some difference that makes it more difficult to obtain. First, Withholding or Removal is only available through Immigration Court, meaning that and Immigration Judge has to approve it. Like Asylum, it is based on past persecution or fear of future persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Unlike Asylum, there is not a limitation on when you can file it.
Unlike Asylum, Withholding of Removal requires that you are more likely than not going to be persecuted, meaning you have to prove that there is more than a 50% chance of persecution. Additionally, there is no possibility to become a resident with withholding.
Withholding of Removal protects you from being removed to the country where you fear persecution. Immigration may still try to remove you to another country that is willing to accept you. With Withholding of Removal, a Removal Order exist, but it is not executed unless it is to a country that is willing to accept you.
Withholding or Removal is exclusively available before an Immigration Court.
Convention Against Torture
Protection under the Convention Against Torture is a type of Withholding of Removal that is more difficult to obtain. You have to demonstrate that if you are removed there is a likelihood that you will be tortured.
Similarly to Withholding or Removal, Protection under the Convention Against Torture is also only available before an Immigration Judge.