Immigration 101: Withholding of Removal

If you are not eligible for asylum, you may still qualify for a form of relief from removal called withholding of removal. You still have to show that you face persecution in your home country on account of your race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. However, you have to show that it is “more likely than not” that you would be persecuted if you return, which is a higher standard than the “reasonable probability of persecution” required for asylum. This higher standard is much more difficult to prove.

Withholding of removal is not subject to some of the requirements for asylum, and many of the statutory bars don’t apply. For example, you do not have to file your application for withholding of removal within one year of entering the US. Many of the crimes that would present a bar to a grant of asylum will not bar you from receiving withholding of removal. Withholding is also available even if you resettled in another country before you arrived in the US.

If you are granted withholding of removal, the government will not remove you to the country where you fear persecution, but it may try to remove you to a country where you have citizenship or residence rights.

This article is part of our ongoing “Immigration 101” series, in which we break down topics in US immigration law. For more articles in this series, click here.

The content in this post was originally written by Stuart Nickum and adapted by Lena Barouh.


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