Country Condition Research for Your Asylum Case

Country Condition Research is extremely important when putting together a strong asylum packet, for both affirmative asylum in front of the asylum officer and defensive asylum in front of an Immigration Judge. This post will help both asylum seekers and their attorneys.

State Department Human Rights Report – The asylum officer or ICE attorney has very little time to do their own country research for asylum claims. They will generally rely only on the State Department Human Rights Report. It will be regarded as highly persuasive and should be read thoroughly for supporting and contradicting evidence. The reports are updated each year and are available here
International Human Rights Organizations – There are several major international human rights organizations that issue country reports and issue specific reports. The following organizations should be surveyed for supporting evidence for your case, such as evidence that certain human rights abuses are occurring in your country. 1. Amnesty International and 2. Human Rights Watch 3. Human Rights First 4. United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights There may also be regional and local human rights organizations. They can usually be found by typing the search terms [“human rights”] and [“country name”].
Issue Specific Research – Many of the human rights organizations will cover broad topics with the occasional issue specific report. It is important to have information that addresses the issue that is at the heart of the asylum claim. One should search the issue term in google along with the country name, such as “gay rights” and “mexico” or “FGM” and “Yemen”. There are also many issue specific organizations that will have country specific information. Here are a few: International Gay and Lesbian Association International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (international women’s rights org.) (International Federation of Journalists) (Journalists for Democracy and Human Rights) (Transparency International – Corruption)
Newspapers and Media – Supporting evidence can also be found in newspaper articles, whether they are about a general topic or one event specific to your case. You should be looking at the websites of all the newspapers in your country as well as the major international newspapers such as the New York Times ( and the BBC
Google – Google is an amazing tool, it will help you find anything. One trick is to use several different ways of saying the same search term. Don’t just type in “police abuse” and “iran”, also type in ” police” and “human rights” and “iran”. Also try “Tehran” and “police” and “corruption”. Try “police” and “middle east” etc… and Books – Finally, search for a book on your country or your specific issue. When you find the book, look for the author’s name and do a google search of him or her. You may be able to find their own website. Books on countries and politics are usually written by academics or journalists, so they may have their own bio up with an email. Don’t hesitate to email them and ask for any help. They may be able to write an affidavit attesting to their knowledge of the human rights abuses that occur in your country.

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Tips on Preparing for an Asylum Interview

This guide will give you some tips on preparing for your asylum interview in front of the asylum officer.

Practice Telling Your Story – Find a friend that you trust and tell them your story. If you are going to be using an interpreter, have an interpreter present when you are practicing. Allow your friend to ask you questions and listen carefully to the questions that your friend asks as they may provide you with an idea of where your story is confusing or missing details.

Prepare an Outline – Prepare an outline of your story so that you can remember the main points and especially the names and dates. You will want to highlight all the instances of persecution no matter how small. It is also important to make sure that you understand the order that the events occurred. You should also re-read your application so you know what you put down.

Tell the Truth – You MUST tell the truth even if you think that it is not helpful to your case. If you do not, it will likely hurt you in the end. Sometimes omitting important facts is the same thing as lying. However, in some cases, it may be okay not to volunteer information unless asked. An attorney will help you decide when and when not to disclose certain facts.

Speak Slowly and Listen Carefully – Sometimes the Asylum Officer will be typing everything you say. If you speak quickly he or she may not hear something important. You will have to speak very slowly. You will also need to listen very carefully to his questions and try to answer his precise question first before elaborating.

Details – The officer will want to hear details. The more details you can provide the more likely he will believe your claim. He or she may have just read your asylum application that day, or maybe not at all, so you will have to treat the interview as if he is hearing everything for the first time.

Beliefs – Be prepared to talk about your beliefs especially the ones that your claim is based on. If you are claiming political asylum, it’s probably important that you can explain your political beliefs. If you are seeking religious asylum you should know something about your religion. You do not need to be an expert, but at least know enough for the officer to believe that you are a member of that religion or political party.

Snack – Have a snack before your interview, but not too much. You may be waiting for an hour and the interview may last an hour or more so you want to be comfortable.

Attorney – You really should be working with an attorney who has experience in asylum law. The application is just as important as the interview. An attorney will make sure that you have a strong application with a significant amount of evidence. Some asylum applications may be over 150 pages in length. An attorney will be able to best prepare you and attend the interview with you. At the interview an attorney will mostly stay silent but they may speak of if they feel that the asylum officer is out of line or if there is any miscommunication. An attorney can also ask you questions in front of the officer at the end in case there is important information that the Asylum officer forgot to ask you or you forgot to provide.


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Tips on Proving a Bona fide Marriage for a Greencard

If you are filing for a green card based on Marriage to a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, USCIS requires that you provide evidence that the marriage is bona fide or genuine. The following tips will be helpful in proving this.

  • Your marriage must be valid where the marriage took place. In order to document this you should provide a copy of the marriage certificate.
  • Unless you have a valid excuse for living apart, it is expected that a married couple live together. In order to provide proof of this you should provide a lease agreement that has both of your names on it. If you own the home, the mortgage should include both names. Copies of joint utility bills such as water and electricity should also be included. If you do not have these or you would like to provide more proof, an affidavit of a friend or relative could also state that they know that the two of you live together.
  • If the marriage is genuine it is likely that you have a romantic relationship. You can document this by including copies of love letters, Valentines day cards, photos of the two of you together and affidavits from friends or family. It is more helpful if these items show several different instances throughout the relationship and not just shortly before you filed the application
  • Married couples are generally expected to commingle their finances. You should include copies of joint bank accounts, joint credit card accounts, and tax returns that have shown that you filed as a married couple.
  • You should include letters from each of you and from two friends or family members that can attest to your relationship. They should explain how they know you, what they know about your relationship and that they believe your relationship to be genuine. It is helpful if they mention specific things they know to support their assertion, such as the fact that they have gone on double dates or that you have met each other’s families. Letters from U.S. Citizens and L.P.R.s are preferable to Foreign Nationals.
  • You should include copies of photos. Do not just include wedding photos. Include photos from different events and time periods throughout the relationship. Include photos of the two of you alone and with each other’s friends and family.
  • If either one of you have been previously married, you will need to include the divorce decree.

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2012 Diversity Visa Lottery Results NOT Valid

Unfortunately, the 2012 DV Lottery results were made in error. There will be a new drawing. See the above recorded message from the State Department.


Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Immigration Law


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President Obama on Immigration Reform May 2011


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Obama to Speak on Immigration


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Seattle Immigration Lawyer

Andre Olivie, Immigration Lawyer in Capitol Hill, Seattle

Since 2009, I have limited my practice to U.S. immigration law, naturalization and citizenship law and asylum law. Immigration law is very complex and it is one’s best interest to work with an attorney who does not just dabble in immigration. At my office I accept the following visa cases: marriage visas, fiancée visas, student visas, family visas, H-1b visas, R visas, P visas, O visas, TN visas, E visas, J Visas, L visas, and M visas. I also take adjustment of status cases which is essentially the application for a green card while in the U.S. In addition to obtaining visas for my clients, I also aid them in extending their status and changing their status. For those clients who are already lawful permanent residents, I can help them obtain U.S. Citizenship. I also have experience with asylum law, both affirmative asylum at the asylum office and defensive asylum in immigration court. I will occasionally take a cancellation of removal case or a defense from deportation case. These are the majority of the cases that I handle at Olivie Law. There are probably other immigration matters that I have not addressed here but will likely handle. Feel free to schedule a consultation in order to discuss how I can help you. If your issue is not something that I do, I will refer you to another competent attorney.

I am a Seattle Immigration Lawyer, however, as immigration law is federal law and not state law, I am authorized to take immigration cases in all 50 states. As my parents and sister live in Tempe, Arizona, I visit often and can meet clients on these visits. For those clients who do not live in driving distance to my office, I can work with them over the telephone, through email, postal mail and also skype.

In Seattle, my office is located at 1617 Boylston Ave, Seattle in the heart of Capitol Hill. While my office is only open between 8am and 6pm on weekdays, I can meet clients at any reasonable time seven days a week including evenings and weekends. If you live in a nearby site, I am willing to travel to you. Thus, I am also a Bellevue Immigration Lawyer, a Tacoma Immigration Lawyer, a Renton Immigration Lawyer and a Kent Immigration Lawyer! I am willing to travel throughout King County and Pierce County. 

If you are looking for an Immigration Lawyer in Seattle or anywhere in the U.S. feel free to call me anytime at (206) 724-1940, I would be happy to speak with you and set up a consultation.


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