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Asylum: The REAL ID Act - Corroborating Evidence

On May 11, 2005, the REAL ID Act made it more difficult for asylum seekers to obtain asylum in a couple ways. Here, we will discuss the heightened requirements of corroborating evidence for asylum cases. The following points are to be followed by an immigration official or judge based on §208(b)(1)(B)(ii); 8 USC §1158(b)(1)(B)(ii):

  • An officer may grant asylum on testimony of the applicant alone but only in the case where the applicant’s testimony is “credible, persuasive, and refers to specific facts.”

  • An officer may require other evidence to corroborate otherwise credible testimony “unless the applicant does not have the evidence and cannot reasonably obtain the evidence.”

  • In determining whether the applicant has met the applicant’s burden [of proof], the trier of fact may weigh the credible testimony along with other evidence of record.

Prior to the REAL ID Act an applicant’s testimony alone could be sufficient to meet the applicant’s burden of proof. However, it is almost necessary to provide corroborating evidence in support of the asylum applicant’s testimony.


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