U.S. Law Center

What should I know about the credible fear screening?

Asylum seekers in the U.S. will be subject to a credible fear screening. This screening is used to determine whether there is a legitimate fear for your safety should you return to your home country. Credible fear screenings often occur when an asylum seeker is subject to expedited removal, as explained by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

The first step is to inform an agent at Customs and Border Protection about your desire to apply for asylum. In this case, you'll need to communicate a few things to the agent in order to obtain a credible fear screening. First, you must state your desire to apply for asylum. Second, you must express that you fear torture or persecution if you're returned to your home country. At this point, you'll be detained in anticipation of the credible fear process.

While you're detained, you'll be provided essential information for the screening. This includes a listing of legal services that are available to you at little to no cost. You'll also undergo an orientation to ensure you're properly prepared for the screening. Detainees are given a period of 48 hours to ensure they're sufficiently prepared. You can also opt to waive this waiting period if you want your screening to occur at a faster rate. 

During the screening, you'll need to prove a fear of persecution, torture, or both. Persecution is usually based on political opinion, race, religion, or nationality, among other factors. In both cases, you'll need to show there is a significant possibility you'll be subject to such treatment upon your return. If the agent believes your fears to be legitimate, the case will be transferred to an immigration judge. From here, other factors will be looked at, such as your criminal history or security risk, which determine whether you'll be permitted to remain in this country. 

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