Under United States immigration laws, there are two ways that foreigners can become legal residents.
The first is by seeking asylum, and the other is for refuges to seek residency through the United Nations.
The difference between asylum refugee status is simple. Those already in the United States will seek asylum, those outside the country are refugees.
Though both asylum seekers and refuges have a common goal, there are major differences that separate the two.
When someone seeks asylum, they are already on American soil, and must prove to the United States government that there is overwhelming proof that they will be in danger upon returning to their own country. Some of these reasons include persecution based upon the person’s race, their political or religious beliefs, or their nationality.
There is a standard procedure for applying for asylum, and depending upon how the applicant entered the country, it is possible that they may be held or detained until the asylum issue is handled.
The main difference between seeking asylum and refugee status, is that refugees are outside of the United States, therefore they do not appeal to the United States government for citizenship, but rather they seek it from the United Nations.
It is important to retain the services of an attorney who is experienced with immigration law to ensure that the proper steps are taken.