Refugee and Asylum Visas

 

Refugees and Asylees may apply for a green card.

Refugee

A person who was admitted to the United States as a refugee could apply for green card (permanent residence) one year after the refugee’s entry into the United States provided the refugee admission was never terminated and had not already acquired permanent resident (green card) status.

To apply for a green card the refugee needs to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. When permanent residency is granted, the refugee will have adjustment of status date recorded as the day he or she entered into the United States as a refugee. All family members’ should apply I-485 together with the main applicant. The application packets should be mailed together in the same mailing envelope.

Asylee

A person who was granted the asylum status is eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) one year after receiving the grant of asylum. The spouse and children are also eligible to apply for a green card if they were admitted to the United States as asylees or were included in the asylee’s grant of asylum. 

An asylee may no longer qualify for asylum status with the right to remain permanently in the United States if country conditions change in his or her home country or if the asylee no longer meet the definition of an asylee due to changed circumstances. The asylee must meet certain criteria namely, he or she must have been physically present in the United States for at least one year after being granted asylum, continue to meet the definition of a asylee (or continue to be the spouse or child of such asylee), have not abandoned asylee status, are not firmly resettled in any foreign country, and continue to be admissible to the United States. A waiver may be available to the asylee if he or she is inadmissible.

To apply for a green card as an asylee, one needs to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.  All family members’ should apply I-485 together with the main applicant. The application packets should be mailed together in the same mailing envelope.

When the green card is granted, asylee (and asylee’s derivative family members) will have asylee’s date of adjustment of status rolled back one year from the date asylee’s green card is granted.  

The USCIS asylum program accepts new Form I-589 applications from derivative asylees (spouses or children of a principal asylee) who no longer meet the definition of a spouse or child of the principal asylee in order to provide such individuals with a way to become a permanent resident.