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.


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.

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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. Guide to Credible and Reasonable Fear Proceedings
This practice guide walks pro se applicants through the credible and reasonable fear process. It provides an excellent overview of both processes.

2. Q&A on Credible Fear Screening
This Q&A by USCIS provides some important information about credible fear interviews.