Green Card through Asylum

Obtaining a Green Card as an Asylee or Refugee

Individuals entering the U.S. as a refugee must apply for lawful permanent residency one year from the date they entered the United States as a refugee.

Individuals may qualify for lawful permanent residency if they meet the following requirements:

  • They have been physically present in the United States for one year from the date they entered as a refugee;
  • They are admissible to the United States;
  • Refugee status has not been terminated
  • They have not abandoned their status as a refugee (i.e. returned to the country from which they sought refugee status).

There is no filing fee for applying for residency as a refugee, but an individual will need to pay the biometrics fee. If approved for lawful permanent residency, the date of adjustment of status will be recorded as the date of entry to the U.S. as a refugee.

Asylees may qualify to apply for lawful permanent residency one year from the date of granted asylee status. Spouses and children may also apply if included in the asylum grant.

Asylees may qualify for lawful permanent residency status if the following requirements are met:

  • They have been physically present in the United States for one year from the date they were granted asylum
  • They are admissible to the United States
  • Their asylee status has not been terminated
  • They continue to meet the definition of asylee
  • They have not abandoned their status as an asylee (i.e. returned to the country from which the individual sought asylee status)
  • They have not firmly resettled in another country.

Asylees must pay both the USCIS filing fee and the biometrics fee. If an individual is approved for lawful permanent residency, the date of their adjustment of status will be recorded as a date one year prior to their actual approval date.

For example, if an individual is approved for lawful permanent residency on January 1, 2010, the date of their residency will actually be recorded as January 1, 2009.

Individuals who initially obtained asylee status as the spouse or child of a principal applicant for asylum, may still qualify for lawful permanent resident status even if they are no longer married to the principal applicant or in the case of a child, even if they are now over 21 years old or married.

In order to do so, an individual will need to file a new Form I-589 Application for Asylum with their local asylum office. Once the new I-589 is approved, an individual may apply for adjustment of status. If you think this situation applies to you, you may want to consult our office for assistance in this process.