Asylum: Well-Founded Fear Four-Part Test


In order to be eligible for asylum, you must have suffered past persecution and/or have a well-founded fear of persecution. A well-founded fear of persecution means that you will suffer from persecution in your country should you be forced to return.

In a Board of Immigration Appeals case - Matter of Mogharrabi, 19 I&N Dec. 439 (BIA 1987), the Court created a test to find out if you have a well-founded fear of persecution. To prove you have a well-founded fear of persecution you have to show that:

  • You possess a belief or characteristic that your persecutor seeks to overcome;

  • Your persecutor is already aware, or there is a reasonable possibility your persecutor could become aware, that the applicant possesses this belief or characteristic;

  • Your persecutor has the capability of punishing you; and

  • Your persecutor has the inclination to punish you.

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