Credible and Reasonable Fear Interviews

Immigrants attempting to enter the U.S. without authorization or valid travel documents, as well as some immigrants already present in the U.S. who entered the U.S. without legal authorization, may be ordered removed from the U.S. by the Department of Homeland Security. This removal order will occur quickly, and without a hearing in front of an immigration judge, in a process called “expedited removal.” However, if an immigrant in this situation expresses a fear of returning to his or her home country, he or she should be referred for an interview with an Asylum Officer. That Asylum Officer will determine whether or not there is a likelihood that immigrant might establish eligibility for asylum, withholding of removal, or deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture. If so, the immigrant will be able to remain in the U.S. while that application is pending.

During credible fear and reasonable fear interviews an Asylum Officer will question the immigrant to determine whether or not there is a likelihood that he or she will be able to establish eligibility for asylum or a related form of relief. For immigrants in detention who are fleeing persecution, the credible or reasonable fear interview is crucial. Without a positive determination, that immigrant will be deported from the U.S. and unable to apply for protection from persecution. Attorney volunteers can be vitally important in helping the immigrant to prepare for the interview, and representing the immigrant during the interview itself.


Case Law

Guidance for Processing Reasonable Fear, Credible Fear, Asylum, and Refugee Claims in Accordance with Matter of A-B-

USCIS

This July 11, 2018 policy memo lays out guidance for USCIS officers for determining, in light of Matter of A-B-, whether an applicant is or might be eligible for asylum or refugee status. The guidance addresses credible and reasonable fear interviews as well as asylum and refugee applications. Practitioners representing asylum seekers in credible and reasonable fear interviews will need to be familiar with this guidance, which attempts to narrow asylum eligibility, especially for those who fear harm by non-governmental persecutors.

Practice Guides

Q&A on Credible Fear Screening

USCIS

This Q&A by USCIS provides some important information about credible fear interviews.

Practice Guides

Guide to Credible and Reasonable Fear Proceedings

Florence Project

This practice guide walks pro se applicants through the credible and reasonable fear process. It provides an excellent overview of both processes.

Practice Guides

Vindicating the Rights of Asylum Seekers at the Border and Beyond

Urban Justice Center, Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project

This excellent guide provides a clear and comprehensive overview of the Credible Fear Interview process.

Practice Guides

Asylum in the United States

American Immigration Council

This fact sheet describes the asylum system in the United States, including how asylum is defined, eligibility requirements, and the application process.

Sample Filings

Transcript of Credible Fear Interview

Immigration Justice Campaign

The Asylum Officer's notes and summary of a credible fear interview. The format, and some of the questions, are standardized, so this is a very helpful tool to use in preparing for a credible fear interview.

E-course

Representing Asylum Seekers in Credible and Reasonable Fear Interviews

Immigration Justice Campaign

This short online course will prepare attorneys to represent asylum seekers at credible and reasonable fear interviews with USCIS Asylum Officers. For many detained asylum seekers, this is the necessary first step in the process of seeking protection in the United States.

Contact Us

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Guided Learning

If you are new to this area, we suggest the following training sequence to learn about credible and reasonable fear interviews.


1. Representing Asylum Seekers in Credible and Reasonable Fear Interviews
This short online course will prepare attorneys to represent asylum seekers at credible and reasonable fear interviews with USCIS Asylum Officers. For many detained asylum seekers, this is the necessary first step in the process of seeking protection in the United States.

2. Vindicating the Rights of Asylum Seekers at the Border and Beyond
This excellent guide provides a clear and comprehensive overview of the Credible Fear Interview process.