Green Card for Asylees

U.S. immigration law allows asylees to apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status after they have been physically present in the U.S. for at least one year since being granted asylum.

This page provides specific information for asylees in the United States who want to become LPRs (get a Green Card). This is called “adjustment of status.” You should also read the Instructions for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (PDF, 545 KB) before you apply.

Eligibility for Adjustment of Status

In order to be eligible for a Green Card as an asylee, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You are physically present in the United States at the time you file your Form I-485;
  • You have been physically present in the United States for at least one year after you were granted asylum;
  • You continue to meet the definition of a refugee, or to be the spouse or child of a refugee;
  • You have not firmly resettled in any foreign country;
  • Your grant of asylum has not been terminated;
  • You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief; and

Bars to Adjustment

Depending on how you entered the United States or if you committed a particular act or violation of immigration law, you may be barred from adjusting status. The bars to adjustment do not apply to you if you are applying for a Green Card based on your asylee status.

Grounds of Inadmissibility

To qualify for a Green Card, you must be admissible to the United States. Reasons why you may be inadmissible are listed in the INA 212(a) and are called grounds of inadmissibility.

While in general, USCIS can only approve your Green Card application if none of the applicable grounds of inadmissibility apply to you, certain grounds of inadmissibility do not apply to asylum adjustments. See USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 7, Part M, Asylee Adjustment.

In addition, some grounds of inadmissibility may be waived for asylees applying for adjustment of status. See Form I-602, Application by Refugee for Waiver of Grounds of Excludability. If a waiver or other form of relief is granted, USCIS may approve your application for a Green Card if you are otherwise eligible.

Whether a waiver or other form of relief is available depends on the specific inadmissibility ground(s) that applies to you and the category you are adjusting under. Eligibility requirements for waivers and other forms of relief vary. For more information on the grounds of inadmissibility and waivers, please see USCIS Policy Manual Volume 7, Part M, Chapter 3.

How to Apply

If you are an asylee and you have been physically present in the United States for at least one year after being granted asylum, you may apply to become an LPR by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

What to Submit (Principal Applicant)

The foreign national who was granted asylum is called the principal applicant. If you are the principal applicant, you should submit the following documentation and evidence to apply for a Green Card:

  • Proof of your grant of asylum (such as a copy of the letter, decision of an immigration judge, or Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record that shows the date you were granted asylum);
  • Evidence of one-year physical presence in the U.S.;
  • Two passport-style photographs;
  • Copy of your government-issued identity document with photograph;
  • Copy of your birth certificate (if available);
  • Copy of your passport page with nonimmigrant visa (if available);
  • Copy of your passport page with admission or parole stamp (issued by a U.S. immigration officer) (if available);
  • Certified police and court records of criminal charges, arrests, or convictions (if applicable); and

For more information on applying for adjustment of status, see the Instructions for Form I-485. Please also see our page on Tips for Filing Forms with USCIS.

Family Members

If you were granted derivative asylum status based on your spouse or parent’s principal asylum grant, you may apply for a Green Card. For more information on derivatives and eligibility for adjustment of status, please see USCIS Policy Manual Volume 7, Part M, Chapter 2, Section C.

Eligibility Criteria for Adjustment of Status as Derivative Applicants

In order to be eligible for asylum-based adjustment as a derivative applicant, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You properly filed your Form I-485:
  • You are currently the principal applicant’s spouse or child and the principal applicant still meets the definition of a refugee;
  • You are physically present in the United States at the time you file your Form I-485;
  • You have been physically present in the United States for at least one year since you were granted asylum as a derivative;
  • Your grant of asylum has not been terminated;
  • You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief; and
  • You merit the favorable exercise of discretion.

What to Submit (Derivative Applicants)

If you are applying to adjust status as a derivative applicant, you should submit the following documentation and evidence:

  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with the correct fee or with Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver;
  • Copy of documentation showing your relationship to the principal applicant, such as a marriage certificate, birth certificate, or adoption decree;
  • Evidence of your asylum status (such as a copy of the letter, decision of an immigration judge,  Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, or approved I-730 Petition filed on your behalf that shows the date you were granted asylum as a derivative);
  • Evidence of one-year physical presence in the U.S.;
  • Two passport-style photographs;
  • Copy of your government-issued identity document with photograph;
  • Copy of your birth certificate (if available);
  • Copy of your passport  page with your nonimmigrant visa (if available);
  • Copy of your passport page with admission  or parole stamp (issued by a U.S. immigration officer) (if available);
  • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record (you may submit this form together with Form I-485 or later, for example, when USCIS requests it or in person at your interview, if any);
  • Certified police and court records of criminal charges, arrests, or convictions (if applicable); and
  • Form I-602, Application by Refugee for Waiver of Grounds of Excludability (if applicable).

Legal Reference

For more information, see the following:

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