frequently asked questions


FAQs for Prospective and Existing Oasis Clients:


+ What services do you provide?

We provide the following services for LGBTQIA+ clients:

  • Affirmative Asylum
  • Consultations to screen for immigration relief
  • Residency
  • Citizenship
  • Family Petitions

We do not serve immigrants in deportation proceedings or people living outside the U.S. Please see our resources page for a list of other organizations where you can get help.

+ What are your fees?

Initial consultations cost $25. We have sliding scale fees for other services. Please call (510) 666-6687 or email info@oasislegalservices.org for additional information.

+ What are your office hours?

We are open Monday - Friday from 9am–5pm by appointment only. Please call (510) 666-6687 or email info@oasislegalservices.org to make an appointment.

+ WHAT DO I BRING TO MY INITIAL CONSULTATION?

Please bring all identity documents in your possession (e.g. birth certificate, consular identification card, passport) and any documents you have received in the past from immigration services.

+ WHAT DO I BRING TO MY APPOINTMENT TO APPLY FOR A WORK PERMIT RENEWAL?

  • 2 passport photos
  • Current work permit
  • Check or money order to US Department of Homeland Security for $410. If you cannot pay, contact us to see if you qualify for a fee waiver.

+ WHAT DO I BRING TO MY APPOINTMENT TO APPLY FOR RESIDENCY?

  • 2 passport photos
  • Proof of asylum (I-94 card, approval letter, court order)
  • Medical exam (click here for qualified physicians)
  • Birth certificate
  • Credit/debit, money order, or check payment for Oasis Legal Services (call to discuss pricing and payment plans)
  • If you have an arrest record, bring copies of court records for each arrest
  • Check or money order for US Department of Homeland Security for $1225. If you cannot pay, call us to see if you qualify for a fee waiver.

+ I CHANGED MY ADDRESS / PHONE NUMBER! WHAT DO I DO?

Please contact us as soon as possible if you change your address or phone number. It is really important that we are able to contact you in case there are any developments in your case.We will also notify Immigration Services of the change if you have a pending petition.

+ WHAT GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS DO YOU SERVE?

We serve clients who are able to come to our office and live in the geographical area that is served by the San Francisco Asylum Office:

  • California: Counties of Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo, Yuba
  • Nevada: Counties of Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing, Storey, Wash, White Pine
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • Washington

+ I NEED A LAWYER TO REPRESENT ME IN IMMIGRATION COURT. CAN YOU HELP?

We do not represent clients in immigration court. Give us a call or email us and we can refer you to a lawyer who can help you.

+ I was deported in the past. Am I eligible to get help from Oasis?

Possibly. In order for Oasis to assess your case, you can call our office at (510) 666-6687 to schedule a consultation.


FAQ for Both Asylum Seekers and Legal Representatives


+ What is asylum status? If I get asylum, can I eventually become a citizen?

Asylum status is a permanent immigration status. Asylum status leads to legal permanent residency and citizenship. After holding asylum status for one year, an asylee can apply to become a legal permanent resident (“green card” holder). After maintaining legal permanent resident status for four years, an asylee can apply to naturalize and become a U.S. citizen.

+ What family members can asylees petition for?

Asylees can petition for spouses and unmarried children who were under 21 at the time the asylum application was filed. Beneficiary family members can either be already in the United States or outside the United States. In addition, spouses and unmarried children under 21 already in the U.S. and included on an asylum application automatically obtain derivative asylum status at the same time the principal applicant is granted.

+ How long does the asylum process take?

Current processing of asylum applications granted at the asylum office take approximately two months. However, applications that were filed prior to January 2018 are in a backlog of cases that may take years to complete. Please note that processing times can change at any time.

+ What kind of proof does an LGBTQ+ asylum seeker need to provide as part of their case?

All asylum applicants need to establish identity; usually this is done with a passport or birth certificate. Applicants with derivatives (spouse or children) included in the application must establish the relationship to that derivative beneficiary; usually this is done with marriage and birth certificates. Depending on the case, some applicants may need to provide mental health reports, medical reports, police and court documents, or witness statements to support their case. Applicants may also need to provide information about the conditions in their home country. For our cases Oasis provides extensive reports on the country an asylum seeker is fleeing as part of the supporting documentation for the case.


FAQs for Legal Representatives:


+ Can LGBTQ+ and/or HIV+ individuals qualify for asylum?

Yes. Asylum is a legal protection for individuals who have suffered persecution or have a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of one of five enumerated grounds. LGBTQIA+ and HIV+ individuals may establish a claim to asylum based on any of the enumerated grounds, including their membership in a particular social group related to their LGBTQIA+ and/or HIV+ status (e.g., “sexual minorities” or “imputed sexual minorities”).

+ Can a client who has been in the United States for more than one year potentially qualify for asylum?

Yes, possibly. Asylum law requires that an applicant file within one year of last entry into the United States. There are two exceptions to the one year filing deadline: 1) changed circumstances that materially affect the applicant’s claim, and 2) extraordinary circumstances relating to the delay in filing within the first year after applicant’s last entry. Note, even if the applicant can establish an exception to excuse the late filing, the applicant is still required to file the application with a “reasonable time” given the circumstances in order for the application to be accepted.

+ Is there a quota or limit on the number of people granted asylum in the United States?

No. There is no quota or limit on the number of people granted asylum in the United States.


FAQs for Asylum Seekers:


+ I was picked up by Immigration or police when I entered the United States. Am I eligible for asylum?

Possibly. If you voluntarily left the United States after being detained, you may be eligible to file for asylum affirmatively, and Oasis can help you do this. If you signed paperwork accepting an expedited removal when you were picked up, you may still be eligible for asylum, but may need representation before an immigration judge. Oasis does not represent clients in immigration court, but we can help you assess your case and, if needed, we can refer you to a lawyer who can help you. In order for Oasis to assess your case, you can call our office at (510) 666-6687 to schedule a consultation.

+ I have been arrested in the United States. Can I apply for asylum?

Possibly. Many types of arrests still allow you to be eligible for asylum. Oasis can help you determine how an arrest affects your case. In order for Oasis to assess your case, you can call our office at (510) 666-6687 to schedule a consultation.

+ Is asylum the same as a work permit?

No. Asylum is protection from harm in your country and is a permanent immigration status. A work permit is only proof that you are legally allowed to work in the United States, it does not necessarily mean you have permanent immigration status. When you apply for asylum, however, you may also get a work permit to allow you to work if your asylum application is pending for 180 days or if you are granted asylum.

+ Will I have to go to court as part of my asylum case?

Possibly. As part of your asylum case you will have an interview with an immigration officer at the San Francisco Asylum Office. If you win your case at the asylum office, you will not have to go to court. If you lose your case at the asylum office, you will have to appear in immigration court to apply for asylum again in front of a judge.