Free Legal Aid for Asylum Seekers in north suburban Cook County and Lake County

A Guide to U.S. Asylum | Free Asylum Legal Aid in North Suburban Cook County and Lake County

Every year, individuals from various parts of the world come to the United States in search of safety and protection. The United States provides a crucial form of immigration protection known as Asylum to qualifying individuals who cannot safely return to their home countries due to fear of persecution. For many, obtaining approved Asylum status means safety and protection, a route to work authorization, family reunification, and a possible pathway to achieving Permanent Residence Status. North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic (NSLAC) provides free legal aid to Asylum seekers in north suburban Cook County, IL, and Lake County, IL.  

 What is Asylum? 

Asylum is a form of legal immigration status granted to individuals who come to the United States seeking protection due to past persecution or fear of future persecution if they were to return to their Country of Nationality or the Country where they last resided.  

 What are the requirements to qualify for Asylum? 

  • You left your home country due to persecution or fear of future persecution based on one or more of the following – race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. 
  • You are already in the United States or are seeking admission at the border. 
  • You file the Asylum application within one year of entering the United States. 

What is the process for filing for Asylum? 

There are two types of Asylum filings designed for individuals already in the United States who have a valid basis of experienced persecution in the past or fear of future persecution if they were to return to their home country, provided they have been in the United States for less than one year.

  • Affirmative Asylum is a type of Asylum petition that is proactively filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services while residing in the United States and before the government initiates any removal or deportation proceedings against you. 
  • Defensive Asylum is a type of Asylum filed when the Department of Homeland Security has initiated Removal Proceedings against you, and you file for Asylum in response to the Removal.  

What are the benefits of applying for Asylum? 

 While your Asylum application is being reviewed by the Government 

  • You may qualify for Work Authorization and a Social Security Number. 
  • You can remain in the United States and not accrue Unlawful Presence, an important factor for potential future immigration claims that you might submit. 
  • You can include your spouse and children present in the USA on your Asylum application. 

What are the benefits of having an approved Asylum case? 

 Once you have an approved Asylum status you can: 

  • Petition to bring your spouse and children to the United States 
  • Apply for Permanent Resident Status (Green card)

Can NSLAC help me review my Immigration situation and determine if I might qualify for Asylum and Asylum Legal Aid? 

Yes, North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic has a team of skilled immigration attorneys and representatives available for free legal aid consultations. They will carefully review your immigration case and determine if you qualify to file for asylum or other possible forms of immigration relief. If you or someone you know needs asylum assistance, please be in touch with NSLAC at 847-737-4042 or email to review eligibility for our services and to schedule a consultation. NSLAC also offers free legal aid in the areas of domestic violence and housing. 

For the latest updates on Asylum, please visit 

Asylum Mission Moments: 

At North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic (NSLAC), we are proud to share the inspirational stories of those who have successfully obtained asylum, showcasing resilience, determination, and the transformative power of NSLAC free legal aid.  

Defying Oppression and Fighting for Freedom 

From Service to Safety, a Journey of Hope 

A Journey from Fear to Freedom 


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