Asylum is a discretionary form of immigration relief granted to refugees already in the United States. To be considered a refugee and be eligible for asylum, you must prove an inability to return to your home country because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution based upon your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Asylum must be filed within your first year of arrival in the United States. Convictions of an aggravated felony or being considered a danger to national security may make you ineligible for Asylum. However, Convention Against Torture Act or Withholding of Removal may be alternative forms of relief.
Withholding of Proceeding as an alternative to Asylum
A similar and alternative form of relief to Asylum whereby successfully proving the form of relief does not lead eligibility for permanent residence, however employment authorization may be applied for. To establish withholding of removal relief you must prove that it is more likely than not that your life or freedom would be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion in the proposed country of removal.
Protection Under The Convention Against Torture (CAT) as an alternative to Asylum
CAT protection is established under Article 3 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture, an International Treaty. CAT protects and obligates the United States and other Member countries to protect aliens from being returned to countries where they would more likely than not face torture. You must prove that more likely than not that you would be tortured if removed to a specific country. CAT does not make the you eligible for permanent residence, however you may apply for employment authorization.