Asylum — LGBT

Believe or not, political asylum is NOT limited to political persecution. It extends protection to homosexuals, lesbians and transsexuals, if they have been the victims of persecution in their native countries.

There is no such thing as “gay” asylum. Rather, every person who has suffered persecution on account of being different or not fitting in with his or her cultural norms, is entitled to seek refuge and protection under the laws of asylum in the United States. Included among these groups are members of the gay community – gay, lesbian and transgender – who suffer tremendously in their countries of origin and who are not protected by the authorities.

Persecution against sexual minorities is a tragically routine occurrence throughout the world. That’s why I have a special interest in the developing area of gender-related claims (gay/lesbian/transsexual/domestic violence); I’ve always been interested in issues involving persecution, be it political or gender- based.

I work primarily and have vast experience and familiarity with political conditions in all areas of Latin America.

If you believe you have been persecuted because of your sexual orientation, you may be eligible to apply for political asylum in the United States.


Eligibility varies from case to case. We will assess your eligibility when you come in for your interview. However, these are the minimum and common requirements one must have to be eligible to file for asylum:

  • Must have resided in the US for LESS than one year at time of application.
  • Must have been persecuted by the government or elements of the society/government (i.e. police/army/mayors) that the government is unwilling or unable to control.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

+ Can you help me get a visa to travel to the US?

No. I do not provide any assistance with obtaining travel visas to the US.

+ Common misconceptions?

People with arrest records do not qualify. NOT TRUE.

Depends on what kind of arrest. Lots of transsexuals have prostitution records, but it is not necessarily a bar.

People with convictions for SALE of drugs do not qualify. But people with one conviction for drug possession probably do. Drug convictions are very serious, and each conviction must be analyzed carefully.

Other kinds of criminal convictions do not automatically render one ineligible.

Drunk driving (DUI) is generally not serious. Shoplifting is generally not serious. However, more than one conviction can always be extremely serious.

Attorney needs to assess case by case.

Being HIV positive is a negative factor. NOT TRUE.

On the contrary, being HIV positive makes a case for asylum stronger.

Mexicans do not qualify for political asylum. NOT TRUE.

Political asylum is available for anyone that has been persecuted on account of his or her sexual orientation in his or her country or origin.

Political asylum requires written proof of persecution. NOT TRUE.

It is true that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to obtain asylum without proof of what one has suffered or endured. On the other hand, it is not a requirement to present police reports verifying mistreatment. There are many secondary ways to establish mistreatment via written affidavits, statements from witnesses, doctors letters, etc.

+ What are the grounds for persecution?

  • Rape
  • harassment
  • false arrest
  • demand for unwanted sexual favors,
  • beatings
  • loss of employment
  • false criminal accusations
  • rejection by society
  • forced to assume the behavior of heterosexual in order to avoid serious problems, etc.

+ What are the minimum qualifications?

  • Must have resided in the US for LESS than one year at time of application.
  • Must have been persecuted by the government or elements of the society/government (i.e.:police) and the government is unwilling or unable to control.

+ How long does the entire application process take?

The whole process from first interview with the attorney to the interview with the I.N.S. Asylum office takes approximately 6 months

+ What kind of proof does one need?

  • Police complaints filed.
  • Doctors’ letter if one has been injured and needs to seek medical treatment.
  • Letters from treating psychologists and/or therapists.
  • Letters from employers if one has been fired.
  • Any kind of documentation that can prove one’s testimony.
  • NOTE: Lack of documentation DOES NOT prevent one from seeking political asylum.

+ Are there any residency requirements?

Yes. You must be a resident of the SF/Bay area. For more information please contact me.

[ Open All | Close All ]


My greatest triumph is turning a client’s pain into the achievement of legal status. Years of shame and guilt, memories of terrible humiliation and pain, while difficult to recount, are the pathway to achieving the right to live legally in the United States. I begin a case with an individual who believes he or she has little or no self-worth, and see a totally different person at the end of the process, who now feels pride, achievement, and is working towards the eventual goal of U.S. citizenship. To me, this is the essence of being a great lawyer – empowering my clients.

I take particular interest in representing those persons who have never had anyone advocate for them. I understand the difficulty of addressing difficult and intimate topics, which perhaps have never been openly discussed. I understand that the asylum process requires a great deal of compassion and understanding, yet that the focus must always be on the legal issues involved, and the constantly evolving case law. Asylum law has always been my first love, as it involves real people, real situations, and the opportunity to make huge and positive differences in the lives of the individuals who are my clients.