Leaving your home because of war or other reasons is a painful decision anyone has to make. Going back is usually not an option which means you may want to become a citizen in your new home. But how can a refugee or an asylee become a permanent resident in the United States?
You can apply for permanent resident status after being admitted into the country in refugee status after one year. And there is no limit to how many people can apply for a green card who have been granted either asylum or refugee status. Like getting a green card for any immigrant, there are basic requirements that need to be met to obtain permanent resident status:
- You have been physically present in this country for at least one year after being admitted
- Are admissible to the U.S. as an immigrant
- Have not had your refugee admission terminated
- If you are here for asylum, you heed to continue to be a refugee as defined by the law or a spouse/child of a refugee
- You are not firmly resettled in any foreign country
To apply, you will need to fill out an I-485 form, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status. It’s important to read all the instructions such as what evidence you need to present. You will also need to be fingerprinted, photographed, and even obtain a medical examination (if you are in refugee status, you can submit a completed Vaccination Supplement Form). Once the I-485 is filed and you have paid the fee, you will receive a receipt notice that will tell you how long the processing time will be, and what you may need to do. If you are considering traveling outside the U.S. but return to continue the process, you will need to apply for a Refugee Travel Document.
How long will the process take? It can take some time, but if you have an application pending and are arrested, then you’re chances of being deported decrease.
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