In the United States, an asylee is eligible and can apply for a green card (a lawful permanent residence status) one year after they have been granted asylum status. In this post we will answer who is eligible for an asylum green card.

You are eligible under these conditions, if:

  • You have been physically present in the United States for at least one year after asylum status was granted
  • You have continued to be a refugee (as defined by U.S. law) or are the spouse or the child of a refugee) 
  • You have not resettled in another foreign country 
  • Your refugee status has not been terminated; and 
  • You're admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence

Consider that if you entered the United States with a “Refugee” status, you are required by law to apply for permanent residence one year after your admission to the United States. Whereas if you are an asylee, you are not required to apply for permanent resident status one year after being granted asylum. However, you may run the risk of not gaining permanent residency in the United States which we will discuss in this article. For more information visit  How do I become a US permanent resident?

What is an Asylum Green Card?

An asylum seeker is anyone who fled their country of origin because they fear serious harm or persecution and are unable or unwilling to return. For this reason, people seek asylum in the United States and decide to start a new life. If you are an asylum seeker and want to permanently make the U.S. your new country to settle in, you will need to have a green card. 

A green card is an identification document that shows you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States, in other words, you have been granted authorization to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis. However, you will have to wait one year after you have been granted asylum status for you to apply and become a permanent resident. You can learn more about the Green Card for asylum seekers on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

What is the Asylum Green Card Process? 

The process to apply for a lawful permanent resident, a green card is as follows:

How Do You Apply for An Asylum Green Card? 

To apply for an asylum green card, you will need to fill out Form I-485, gather evidence and documentation, and pay the filing fee. Let’s look at these in more detail. 

Filling out Form I-485 

The application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status is the main form you will need to fill out-this form contains all the information you will need to apply for a green card. You will need to print it out, if you do not have access to a printer, computer, or internet, contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 and request they send you an application by mail. 

Ensure to type or print your responses in black ink and fill out each section carefully. Double-check your responses and make sure that you have completed them accurately. For more information visit the detailed Instructions for Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.   

Collecting Evidence and Documentation

Along with your Form I-485, you will need to include additional documents and evidence. If somehow you fail to submit any documentation listed in the application, your application may be denied or delayed for processing. Do not submit your original documents unless told otherwise, you will need to hold on to your original documents. 

Additional documentation includes: 

  • Photographs
  • Government-Issued Identity Document with Photograph
  • Birth Certificate (may not be required for refugees or asylees if they do not have one)
  • Documentation of your Immigrant Category
  • Marriage Certificate and Other Proof of Relationship
  • Evidence of Continuously Maintaining a Lawful Status since arrival in the United States 
  • Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record (Form I-693)
  • Certified Police and Court Records of Criminal Charges, Arrests, or Convictions

In addition, as an asylee, you must also have proof showing you meet the requirements of the specific immigrant category by submitting evidence of asylum status (For example, your copy of the asylum approval notice from USCIS or the immigration court granting you asylum). 

Other forms of evidence may be required as well, read the application thoroughly to see if it is applicable to you. If you have specific questions or need additional assistance, contact your attorney to help you gather this information. 

Pay the Filing Fee 

If you are a refugee adjusting status under INA section 209(a), you do not need to pay the Form I-485 filing fee or biometric services fee. You are automatically exempt. 

How Long Does It Take To Get a Green Card? 

After you file the forms for the green card to USCIS, you will receive a receipt notice confirming they have received your application. You will be notified if you need to attend a biometric service, this is a 20-minute appointment where they collect your fingerprints, take your photo, and have you sign an electronic signature. This process is usually completed during your asylum application, and you may not be required to attend another biometric appointment. Nevertheless, stay attentive to the instructions USCIS sends in the receipt. 

As an asylee, you may also not be required to attend the green card interview since you have already attended your asylum interview. They may, however, ask you to attend if they have questions about something specific to your application. USCIS will inform you whether you are required to attend.

When the entire process has been completed, USCIS will notify you of the final decision. The green card for asylees can take time and processing depends on several factors. You can go to the USCIS Processing Time Information page for more information and check the estimated time for your application. 

Why Should You Apply for a Green Card?

Although you are not required by law to apply for a green card as an asylee, be vigilant that circumstances may change and get better in your home country. If this is the case, you will no longer qualify for asylum status or have the right to remain in the U.S legally, therefore you may be placed into removal proceedings for deportation. It is in your best interest to apply for a green card and not take the risk of possible deportation.

There are many benefits of applying for a green card and becoming a lawful permanent resident (LPR). 

Benefits of a green card include: 

  • You can permanently live and work in the United States
  • Become a U.S citizen (after five years) unless you marry a U.S citizen, this can be sooner
  • Do not have to renounce your citizen of your home country 
  • You are protected by the laws of the U.S, state of residency, and local jurisdiction 
  • You can petition other family members for a green card (Spouse or children under the age of 21) 
  • You can travel within and live anywhere in the U.S 
  • You can travel abroad and re-enter the U.S (as long it is within 12 months) 
  • You are eligible to receive federal assistance and/or educational benefits
  • You can contribute and engage in political campaigns

Always keep your green card on you, this provides access to all the benefits in the U.S. As a permanent resident and green card holder, make sure you also get your social security number and apply for a driver’s license; these are also permanent forms of identification that you need to have with for working and living in the United States

Who is Eligible For An Asylum Green Card Conclusion:

Once you have been granted asylum status, wait one year, and apply for lawful permanent residency, a green card. The process for the application can be a bit overwhelming, so you should contact and hire a trusted, professional attorney to help you in your case. They can ensure all your documentation is in line and give you sound advice.

 Once your application has been submitted and processed, USCIS will send you a receipt notice with what to expect next. Many times, since cases are different and there are different factors, they are unable to give you the exact time frame for your final notice, but you can check out the USCIS processing information webpage. Take advantage of applying for a green card, you will be glad you did. Contact Shoreline Immigration for further questions. 

Asylum Green Card FAQ s

Is An Asylee required by Law to Apply for a Green Card? 

By law, asylees are not required to apply for a green card one year after they have been physically present in the U.S. However, consider that if things resolve in your home county, you may no longer qualify for asylee status and you may also face possible deportation. A refugee is required by law to apply for a green card one year after being in the U.S. 

Can I get a Green Card While Applying for Asylum? 

No, you must first be granted Asylee status before you apply for a green card. Once you have been granted “asylum status” and have been physically present in the United States for one year, you can apply for a green card. 

Can I Get a Green Card Through Asylum?

Yes, you can get a green card through asylum. To qualify you must have been physically present in the U.S, meet the definition of “Asylee”, and not abandon the status. If you meet the requirements, you will need to fill out Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status and provide other forms of documentation as listed on the application. 

What are the Benefits of Going from Asylum to Green Card?

Some benefits of obtaining a green card are you can permanently live and work in the United States, become a U.S citizen, travel anywhere or live anywhere within the United States, are eligible to receive federal benefits and financial assistance, sponsor a family member, engage in politics, and much more.