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Welcome to the Asylum and Immigration Resource Pages

Tibet Justice Center's Asylum and Immigration Project manages a clearinghouse of information and materials for Tibetans and attorneys representing Tibetans in asylum matters. The Project maintains a list of agencies through which Tibetans seeking asylum can obtain legal assistance and possibly secure low cost or pro bono legal representation. The Project also provides sample asylum briefs, client affidavits and specialized information regarding the conditions for Tibetans in Tibet, Nepal and India to attorneys representing Tibetans.

Tibet Justice Center provides expert affidavits on country conditions in Tibet and conditions for Tibetan refugees in India or Nepal. These affidavits can be an important component of the asylum process. If you are interested in finding out more about our affadavits, including what the potential costs might be and how to request one, please click here.

Please be aware that the asylum process is complicated. Persons interested in applying for asylum should attempt to obtain the assistance of an attorney who will be able to prepare and file the application and supporting documents, accompany the applicant to the asylum interview, and prepare and file any necessary appeals. Although many attorneys charge a fee for these services, if an applicant does not have any funds to pay for an attorney, it may be possible to locate pro bono, or free, legal representation.

Page Directory

General Information for Tibetans Seeking Asylum
Helping a Tibetan Friend or Relative Come to the United States

Resources for Asylum Attorneys
Useful Links and Documents


General Information for Tibetans Seeking Asylum

1) Applying for Asylum in the United States: Information for Newly Arrived Tibetans, PDF Version [112k]
In Tibetan

2) INS:Overview of the United States asylum process
If you have an asylum or other immigration claim pending with INS, you can check the status of your case here.

3) If you are a Tibetan or a friend of a Tibetan who wishes to apply for political asylum in the United States, please click here to contact an organization in your area for low-cost legal representation.

Helping a Tibetan Friend or Relative Come to the United States

1) Click here to read our FAQ on this issue.

Resources for Asylum Attorneys

Please be advised that Tibet Justice Center has not verified the information contained in the materials listed below. Therefore, the materials should be used solely as a guide to assist attorneys in filing asylum petitions or applications on behalf of Tibetans. Any factual statements contained within the materials should be independently verified before use. Moreover, because immigration and asylum law changes rapidly and may be applied differently depending on an applicant's particular circumstances, all of the legal representations and assertions should be independently verified and researched before use.

The materials contained herein do not constitute legal advice. They should not be used as a substitute for legal research or legal consultation. For specific assistance with an individual immigration or asylum matter on behalf of a Tibetan, please contact the Asylum and Immigration Project.

Sample Briefs and Affidavits
Below are materials to assist attorneys in preparing Tibetan asylum petitions. Among these materials are redacted models of successful applications and memoranda on behalf of Tibetans seeking asylum. These were provided by attorneys with whom Tibet Justice Center has worked.

Brief #1: Concerns a woman who was born and lived most of her life in Tibet. She passed briefly through Nepal on her journey to the United States.
MS Word version [205k] PDF Version [221k]
Brief #2: This is a brief for a Buddhist nun. She did not pass through any third country. MS Word version [133k] PDF Version [220k]
Brief #3: Concerns a Buddhist monk who was born and lived most of his life in Tibet. He passed several months in Nepal before coming tho the United States. MS Word Version [126k] PDF Version [233k]
Brief #4: A Brief for a Buddhist monk who fled persecution in Tibet, passed through Nepal, and lived almost five years in India before traveling to the United States. MS Word Version [100k] PDF Version [198k]

Evidenciary Support for Affidavits
File #1: Social and Demographic Study of Tibetan Refugees in India
PDF Version [671k]

This study describes the social and demographic characteristics of roughly 65,000 Tibetan refugees in India from the period of 1994-1996. Overall, the socio-demographic and health characteristics of this population show signs of transition from those of least developed countries to those of middle income societies. However, many in this population still lack access to adequate health resources and social services.

File #2: The New Tibetan Refugees
PDF Version [216k]

This report highlights circumstances under which Tibetans refugees immigrate to India. It outlines the types of refugees that arrive in India. This document also lists the social services refugees receive upon arrival from the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.

File #3: Unclassified State Department Wires on the Legal Status of Tibetan Refugees in India and Nepal
PDF Version [158k]
This PDF contains two different sets of communications – one between the US Department of State and the American embassy in New Delhi, India and the other between the US Department of State and the American embassy in Katmandu, Nepal. Both communications concern immigration issues and the legal status of Tibetans. Passports, citizenship, and travel visas are the main topics discussed in these communications.

File #4: The Legal Condition of Refugees in India
PDF Version [1.67mb]

This report discusses the legal rights of refugees, including Tibetans, in India. Legal status, citizenship, resettlement, employment, education, and other rights are discussed in this essay. In this discussion it is established that Tibetan are not accorded the rights and freedoms equal to those of Indian citizens.

File #5: Government’s Submission of Evidence on Tibetan Asylum Case
PDF Version [888k]

This brief was filed by William Vela, Attorney at Law, with the San Francisco Immigration Court to help clarify the issue of Indian citizenship for Tibetan refugees. This brief establishes that Tibetan refugees are not accorded the same rights and privileges as citizens of India. They are classified by law as foreigners and thereby face substantial restrictions.

File #6: Department of Justice: Collection of evidence files on Tibetan asylum claims
PDF Version [848k]

This document contains a memo from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees regarding Tibetan refugees in Nepal and Tibet and additional files supporting the claims made by the UNHCR in the memo. This memo and supporting documents cover the issues of citizenship, civil and political rights, and the status of refugees in these states. This memo and supporting documents also discuss how Nepal and India are not party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the ramifications for Tibetan refugees in these countries.

File #7: 911 Tibetan Refugees in Nepal: From Established Settlements to Forcible Repatriation
PDF Version [279k]
This document provides summary of the conditions faced by Tibetan refugees in Nepal. This report covers the processing of Tibetan refugees, the repatriation and mistreatment of new refugees by Nepali border guards and police, and Nepal’s obligation to refugees under international law. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is mentioned briefly for its role in processing Tibetan refugees, including its role in assisting refugees in their transit to India. This document also discusses the relationship between the Nepali Government and the People’s Republic of China.

File #8: Tibetan Refugees in Nepal
PDF Version [495k]
This document provides an estimate of the number of Tibetans living in Nepal and describes the conditions faced by refugees in Nepal. This file includes maps of Nepal and surrounding countries and regions, as well as a chart listing the institutions Tibetan refugees were sent to after arrival (e.g. monasteries, schools, etc).

File #9: Mamadou Diallo v John D. Ashcroft; US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
PDF Version [604k]
This is a copy of a case submitted by Mamadou Diallo regarding the issue of “firm resettlement” in a country which an individual does not hold citizenship. Diallo is a Mauritanian citizen who resided in Senegal prior to moving to the United States, where he is seeking asylum. This document establishes guidelines for what constitutes as “firm resettlement” in a country which an individual does not hold citizenship. It also explains what roles fear of persecution and torture should play in granting an individual asylum into the United States.

File #10: The Indian Citizenship Act, 1955
PDF Version [195k]
This document lists the guidelines for obtaining citizenship in India under the Citizenship Act of 1955 (which was later amended in 1986 and 1992). To obtain citizenship, an individual must either be born in Indian or fall under the regulations listed for a non-citizens to obtain citizenship.


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