Credible Fear Interview (CFI) vs. Reasonable Fear Interview (RFI)

Sep 17, 2023

Credible Fear Interview (CFI) vs. Reasonable Fear Interview (RFI)
Navigating through the immigration process can be really challenging for  an asylum seeker.  Depending on how and when the asylum seeker entered or is apprehended in the United States will determine if they qualify for a Credible Fear Interview or Reasonable Fear Interview. The Credible Fear Interview and Reasonable Fear Interview are both very important steps for an asylum seeker. Asylum seekers are also referred to as applicants in these interviews.

What are some of the similarities between these interviews?

Credible Fear Interviews and Reasonable Fear Interviews alot  in common.  For example, both interviews are conducted by the asylum officer and both interviews are intended to be a screening process to deteremine the applicant's eligibility for asylum.  In both interviews the applicant must demonstrate that they either suffered  and/ or will suffer future persecution on the account of their:
  1. Race
  2. Religion
  3. Nationality
  4. Membership in a particular social group, or,
  5. political opinion.
In other words,  the harm that the applicant suffered or will suffer in the future was based on one or more of the catergories

Additionall, in both interviews the applicant can also demonstrate they have been tortured in the past or fear torture in the future. In demonstrating fear of torture, the applicant does not need to prove the torture was based on one of the five categories. The manner these interviews are conducted is also very similar. Both interviews start off by the asylum officer asking the applicant questions about their background information and then the officer will move on to asking questions about the applicants fear.  At the end of the interview the officer will ask questions regarding criminal history and asylum bars.
What are some of the key differences?
In contrast, a Reasonable Fear is more difficult  to prove than a Credible Fear . In a Reasonable Fear Interview the asylum officer shall determine whether there  is a reasonable possibility that the applicant would be harmed or tortured if returned to their home country.  In a Credible Fear Interview the asylum officer  shall determine whether  the applicant's fear is believable. Furtheromre, in most cases Credible Fear Interview is conducted for non-citizens  who either have a prior order of removal and reenter the United States or for non-citizens who have been in the United  States and are placed in removal proceedings after an arrest. 
What are some important things to know and understand?
It is important to know and understand the asylum law. Generally, under asylum law there are three types of immigration reliefs; Asylum, Withholding of Removal, and Protection Under the Convention against Torture. While an asylum seeker who takes a Credible Fear Interview is eligible for all three types of reliefs. It is also very important for an asylum seeker to give detailed answers  and be consistent during their interview. If the applicants fails to provide information that is important to their claim, they run the risk of failing the interview.  Also, if the applicant introduces information at their asylum trial that they failed to disclose in the interview, the immmigration judge may find adverse credibility in their case and deny their asylum case. 

In conclusion, regardless of the type of interview, the asylum seeker must either do their research  and understand the asylum law or consult with an attorney to better prepare for an interview.  This will not only increase their chances  of passing the interview but also winning their asylum case. 

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