Can I Obtain a Green Card as a Refugee or Asylee?
If you have been a refugee or held asylum status for at least one year, you may be eligible to change your status to that of a lawful permanent resident (LPR). You should use the Form I-485 as your primary application.
Gaining LPR Status as an Asylee
Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is used to adjust the status of asylees to that of a permanent resident. Applicants must have been physically present in the United States in asylee status for at least a total of one year prior to filing the Form I-485.
The asylee should file I-485 with the following supporting documentation (in this order):
- Fingerprint fee (this fee applies to applicants who are from 14 years of age or older)
- I-485 filing fee
- Form G-28, if applicable, signed by the attorney (or authorized representative) and the applicant. Facsimile signature stamps are acceptable for the signature of the representatives. However, applicants must sign the Form G-28 submitted with the application in the original.
- Form I-485, signed. Box "d" of Part 2 of the application should be marked. If the applicant is an Iraqi who processed through Guam, also write "IRAQI/GUAM" in the margin.
- Two (2) photos in an envelope stapled to lower left corner. The name of the applicant and A-number, if known, should be lightly written in pencil on the back of each photo. Details on photo size, etc, may be found in the form instructions.
- Form G-325, signed, (if the applicant is 14 years of age or older).
- Evidence of Asylee Status. Evidence might include a copy of Form I-94 and a clear, readable copy of the letter granting asylum. If alien was initially given conditional asylum, submit evidence to show that the conditions have been removed.
- Form I-602, Application by Refugee for Waiver on Grounds of Excludability, if applicable
- Evidence of one year's physical presence in the United States. Please keep physical presence evidence to an absolute minimum. Evidence might include a letter of employment, a lease, school enrollment records, or similar documentation, which would cover broad periods of time.
- Proof of any absences from the U.S. since you have been granted asylum. For example: photocopies of pages in refugee travel document or passport.
- Birth Certificate or other birth record
- Proof of any legal name change you have obtained since you were granted asylum status
- Form I-693, Medical with Vaccination Supplement. Only a civil surgeon designated by CIS to conduct medical examinations may complete the Form I-693 and the vaccination supplement submitted with it. Call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to locate civil surgeons (doctors) where you live.
(NOTE: The I-693 should not be filed with the initial asylum-based I-485 adjustment application. This information will be requested at the time of adjudication.)
How to File
A separate I-485 application packet must be prepared for principal applicant and, if applicable, for each spouse/child who derived asylee or refugee status from the principal.
Application packets should be assembled in the order described above. To hold each application packet together please use a single staple or a strong paper clip.
Several different application packages may be submitted in the same mailing. It is requested, however, that units be identified. For example, rubber band together all applications pertaining to the "Jones" family, all applications pertaining to the "Smith" family, etc.
Any foreign language documents must be submitted with a certified English translation. The translator must certify that he/she is competent to perform the translation and that the translation is accurate. Note that translations submitted without a legible copy of the foreign document are not sufficient.
- The total fee remittance must be correct for the USCIS to accept the I-485 for filing.
- If one check is submitted to pay for all applications, the check should be attached to the top left-hand corner of the first form in the package. If a separate check is submitted for each application, the check should be attached to the top left-hand corner of the corresponding application.
- Applicants should be aware that when one check is submitted to pay for multiple forms, all applications will be rejected if the check is not in the correct amount, or if any form has inadvertently been left unsigned.
Where to File
All asylum adjustment applications and all refugee adjustment applications should be mailed directly to the Nebraska Service Center. Any concurrently filed Form I-131 (Travel Document) and/or Form I-765 (Employment Authorization) should also be mailed to the Nebraska Service Center.
However, if you have been notified that the Form I-485 has been relocated to a local USCIS office, any subsequent Form I-765, I-131, or I-602 must be submitted to the local office where the I-485 is pending.
When to File
You may apply to adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident Status:
- When you have been physically present in the U.S. for a minimum of one year after the date you were granted asylum status or
- When you have been physically present in the U.S. for a minimum of one year after your admission into the United States with refugee status, whichever is applicable.
Contact a qualified immigration attorney to help you with asylum-related issues.