Could I Receive LGBTQ Asylum in the United States?

Since 1994, the United States has allowed individuals who might be persecuted for their sexual preference to seek asylum in the country. If you have a fear of being punished for your sexual preference in your native country, you may receive protective LGBTQ asylum status. Once granted this status, you will be allowed to remain in the United States. Eventually, your asylum status could lead to U.S. citizenship.

It was 20 years ago when the United States first granted a person asylum in the country based on sexual preference. The man was from Cuba, and his victory is what made it possible for hundreds of LBGTQ community members to receive asylum.

While the United States recognizes the fear of punishment for sexual orientation and preferences, not all requests for asylum will be approved.

Can an LGBTQ Member Apply for Asylum?

The United States does recognize the risk of persecution for those in the LGBTQ community. Therefore, they have allowed individuals to claim asylum and seek residency in the U.S. Also, HIV-positive members of the community have also earned asylum, but you must prove that you are at risk for persecution.

Persecution is a mistreatment or punishment inflicted by members of your nation, the government, or by another party active in your native country. There is no exact definition of the type of persecution a person could use to qualify, but typically, the mistreatment involves severe mistreatment or abuse.

Normally, the United States must be able to observe past persecution suffered by the individual applying for asylum. However, you do not necessarily have to be a victim of abuse to be eligible, especially if you can document proof that you would be persecuted if you returned.

The Requirements for LGBTQ Asylum

The requirements are similar to anyone applying for asylum — only you would list your LGBTQ status as your reason for seeking asylum. However, you must file your request for asylum within one year of arriving in the United States. If you miss the one-year cutoff, your application will be denied unless you have a valid exception.

Requesting asylum, regardless of the reason, is a significant act. Therefore, it is best that you work with an immigration attorney from Udall Shumway, PLC. Whether you are seeking asylum for religious beliefs, gender, or LBGTQ status, you need a lawyer to help you through the application process and ensure that you have adequate evidence to prove your case.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding LGBTQ Asylum, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.