Chapter 4: Documentation and Evidence

The ​officer should review the ​following documentation or evidence to determine the refugee’s eligibility for adjustment:​

A. Required Documentation and ​Evidence​

Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status​(​Form I-485​)​

Each applicant must file a separate application regardless of whether he or she is a principal or a derivative refugee. There is no fee required ​for refugees ​to ​fil​e​ this form.​

Biographic Information Sheet​(​Form G-325A​)​

This form is required for every applicant who is 14 years of age ​or ​older at the time of filing.​The officer must check the ​Form G-325​A​ for additional aliases requiring a​systems​query.​

Proof of refugee status​

An​officer ​must ​review the contents of the A-file for proof of refugee status. The A-file should contain an approved ​refugee application (​Form I-590​)​ with proper endorsement, or an approved ​relative petition (​Form​I-730​)​.​Although applicants may submit a​n​ Arrival/Departure Record​ (Form I-94)​,​ or a​notice ​showing an approved ​relative petition​ with their application, these documents must always be cross-checked with the evidence in the A-file to confirm the ​applicant​’s ​refugee status.​

Evidence of one-year physical presence in the ​United States​

An officer can generally verify p​hysical presence by review​ing​ of the “date of last arrival” and “place of last entry into the United States” blocks on ​the adjustment application​, the ​information listed on the G​-​325​A​ and the ​information within ​US​CIS systems​, such as the Central Index System​.​

In addition, the officer should review t​he date of admission on either a ​Form ​I-94 or ​Form ​I-590 with the date of filing of the​ adjustment application​. If the evidence lends reasonable doubt as to the​time periods ​the applicant has spent ​in the ​United States​, the officer may request additional information verifying physical presence.​

Two (2) passport-style p​hotos, taken no earlier than 30 days pr​ior to filing​

Re​port of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record ​(​Form I-693​)​

T​ypically a complete ​medical examination record​ is not needed by refugees.​A refugee who already received a medical examination prior to admission does not need to repeat the entire medical examination unless the original examination revealed a ​Class A medical condition​. However, the refugee must establish compliance with the vaccination requirements at the time of adjustment of status. The refugee must submit the vaccination record portion completed​ by a designated civil surgeon.​ State and local health departments ​may qualify for a blanket designation​ as civil surgeons for the purpose of completing the vaccination record for refugees app​lying for adjustment of status.​ [1] For more information, see Volume 8, Admissibility, Part C, Civil Surgeon Designation and Revocation, Chapter 3, Blanket Civil Surgeon Designation, Section A, Blanket Designation of State and Local Health Departments [8 USCIS-PM C.3(A)].

Certified c​opies of ​arrest/c​ourt ​r​ecords​(if applicable) ​

An applicant must submit an original official statement by the arresting agency or ​a ​certified court order for all arrests, detentions or convictions​, regardless of ​whether​ the arrest, detention or conviction occurred​ in the United States or elsewhere in the world​.​

Application by Refugee for Waiver of Grounds of Excludability​(​Form I-602​) ​(if applicable)​

Health and Human Services Statistical Data for Refugee/Asylee Adjusting Status ​(​Form I-643​)​

Although this form is required at time of filing, it will generally be removed during pre-processing for submission to the ​Department of ​Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement prior to a​n officer reviewing the ​Form ​I-485​. ​Therefore, the officer will generally be unaware if the form was filed and should not issue an RFE if it is missing from the file.​

B. Supplemental Documentation​

Supplemental documentation is often submitted by the ​applicant but is not required. ​This may include the following: ​

Arrival/Departure Documen​t​ (Form I-94),​ with appropriate endorsement​

Birth c​ertificate, when obtainable ​

S​ee the ​Department of State Reciprocity Tables​ for ​information on the availability of ​identity documents in particular countries and du​ring specific time periods.​ There may be other instances in which a birth certificate is unobtainable ​because of​ country conditions or personal circumstances.​

In these instances, affidavits may be submitted to establish the ​applicant​’s ​identity.​An​officer may also review the A-file to check for a birth certificate that ​the applicant may have ​submitted with the refugee ​application ​or ​for ​other evidence submitted at the time of the interview to establish the applicant’s identity. ​

Copy of ​p​assport(s), when obtainable ​

In most instances a refugee will be unable to produce of copy of his or her passport. There may be other instances in which a passport is unobtainable due to country conditions​,​ personal circumstances​,​ or the ​fact that the ​applicant ​may have never possessed a passport. In these cases, a copy of a passport is not required and ​an​officer may use evidence in the A-file to verify the ​applicant​’s ​identity.​

An officer should review any supplemental documentation submitted​ to ensure it is consistent with the document​ation contained in the A-file. ​Since​identity is already established ​during ​the ​adjudication of the ​refugee ​application​, a birth certificate or passport is not required at​ the​ time of ​adjustment​.​

Nevertheless, if ​the applicant submits ​any of these documents, ​the officer must address and resolve ​a​ny discrepancies ​at the time of adjudication. ​In all cases, ​an officer should give ​considerable weight to the documentation contained in the refugee ​application ​or ​with the ​relative petition​,​ as this information was previously vetted at the time of the refugee ​status ​interview or ​relative petition​approval.​

C. Documentation Already Contained in the A-File​

The ​refugee application​,​(​generally referred to as the “refugee travel packet”​),​should already be ​included ​in the applicant’s A-file​, including​ all of the forms, evidence, and officer notes that were part of the ​original ​a​pplication for refugee status. ​The most important document for an officer to review is either the ​refugee application​ or the ​relative petition​, which provides proof of status and establishes identity (with attached photo) as well as citizenship, since most refugees will not have a bi​rth certificate or a passport. ​

Another important document ​in ​the refugee travel packet ​is the Medical Examination of Appli​cants for United States Visas​ (Form DS-2053, formerly numbered OF-157)​. ​An o​fficer ​does not ​need ​to​ be aware of the overseas medical examination requirements​,​ but should realize that the overseas medical examination requirements are not the same as the requirements for medical examinations performed in the ​United States​.​Refugees are ​generally ​not required to complete a new medical exam in the ​United States​ if a medical exam was performed overseas and there were no Class A conditions.​

D. Unavailable or ​Missing Documentation​

When​a ​refugee fle​es​ the country of persecution, ​he or she ​may ​not ​be able to obtain any document​ation​issued by a civil authority ​as proof of​ identity ​or of a familial relationship. ​At the time of the refugee status interview, ​an officer​ review​s​ many documents and affidavits and solicit​s​ testimony when seeking to establish a refugee’s​ personal and family identity. ​Any available documents submitted at the time of the refugee status interview should be contained within the A-file. ​

An ​officer may rely on the documents contained in the original refugee travel packet to verify ident​ity at the time of adjustment. ​While i​t is not necessary to request the applicant’s birth certificate or passport as proof of identity, ​an officer should review ​any documentation establishing identity ​submitted with the adjustment application​. ​

Additionally, ​an officer should compare ​photos submitted with the ​application​ to the​ photos in the refugee packet. ​If an officer is unable to establish an applicant’s identity due to discrepancies between the documentation ​the applicant ​submitted and information contained in the original refugee packet, then the​ officer should forward the​ file to the field office with jurisdiction over the case for interview and resolution.​