Asylum is a misunderstood immigration process. There are some other processes that may seem like asylum but they are not. In addition, asylum requires specific characteristics of your situation.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, asylum is not a type of immigration as much as it is a type of protection for the person seeking it.
Asylum is the practice of granting a person the right to stay in the U.S. It allows you to not have to return to your home country and protects you against deportation. If you receive asylum, you are an asylee.
To get asylum, you must be in the United States. You cannot request it from outside the country. If you seek shelter for protection but are outside the country, you would be part of resettlement and would be a resettled refugee, not an asylee.
Threats of harm
The key component to receiving asylum is proving that you believe you will face harm if you return to your home country. You must be able to show that your country would persecute you or allow some other group to do so. You can also show that there is some prevailing form of danger that would befall you if you went back home. You can also show that you have already faced prosecution. Asylum also requires showing that the persecution is due to a protected characteristic, such as race, ethnicity, religion, political opinion, nationality or membership in a specific social group.
Not everyone can seek asylum because of the specific requirements. It can also be difficult in some places to provide evidence of potential harm that would allow for asylum.