This was the applicant's first and only attempt to enter the U.S. S/he tried to enter the U.S. at or near a port of entry and told the immigration officer that s/he has a fear of returning to his/her home country on the grounds of race, gender, political opinion, sexual orientation (or any other reason). Because of this, s/he asks for a "credible" fear interview with an asylum officer. If the officer believes there is a significant possibility that s/he will be persecuted, his/her interview will be approved and s/he will be able to apply for asylum in front of an immigration judge.
Reasonable fear interview
If s/he have previously been ordered deported and then re-entered the U.S., or if s/he were ordered deported and never left, DHS will attempt to reinstate the prior deportation order and order him/her removed. Because of this situation, the standard is higher and you will have a "reasonable fear" interview. Whereas with "Credible fear," the standard is "significant possibility," with a "reasonable fear" interview, the standard is whether there is a "reasonable possibility" s/he will be persecuted or tortured in your home country. If s/he passes the interview, s/he can apply for withholding of removal and/or the Convention Against Torture (CAT) in front of an immigration judge.
NOTE: If s/he has been convicted of a crime in the U.S. that is deemed an aggravated felony for immigration purposes, and s/he is not a lawful permanent resident, s/he will be evaluated through a "reasonable fear" interview.
In order to have a credible or reasonable fear interview, the applicant must overtly request it from the respective immigration official or his/her deportation officer.