Chapter 1 - Purpose and Background
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) seeks to:
Resolve the asylee’s status by ultimately determining whether he or she is admissible to the United States as an immigrant; and
Provide qualified asylees a pathway to permanent residence as persons of special humanitarian concern to the United States.
The Refugee Act of 1980 not only provided for the admission and adjustment of status of refugees but also established procedures for noncitizens to seek asylum. Prior to the Refugee Act, there was no mechanism for someone in the United States to apply for protection under the Refugee Convention. The Refugee Act required the establishment of a procedure for a noncitizen who meets the definition of a refugee to apply for and be granted asylum if physically present in the United States regardless of the person’s immigration status.
The Refugee Act provided for the adjustment of status of asylees to permanent residents. Unlike refugees, asylees are not required to apply for adjustment of status 1 year after receiving asylum. Instead, an asylee may apply for adjustment of status after accruing 1 year of physical presence after receiving asylum status. The asylee is not required to apply within a specific time frame.
Although the Refugee Act exempted asylees from the worldwide annual limitations on immigrants, the law placed a ceiling of 5,000 on the number of asylees who could adjust to permanent resident status each year. The Immigration Act of 1990 increased the annual ceiling to 10,000 and waived the annual limit for those asylees who met the required 1-year physical presence requirement and filed for adjustment of status on or before June 1, 1990. In 2005, the REAL ID Act  permanently eliminated the annual cap on the number of asylees allowed to adjust status.
INA 209(b) – Adjustment of status of refugees
8 CFR 209.2 – Adjustment of status of alien granted asylum
Pub. L. 96-212 (PDF) – Refugee Act of 1980
No appendices available at this time.
This technical update replaces all instances of the term “alien” with “noncitizen” or other appropriate terms throughout the Policy Manual where possible, as used to refer to a person who meets the definition provided in INA 101(a)(3) [“any person not a citizen or national of the United States”].
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is revising its policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to align with the Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements Final Rule, published in the Federal Register on August 3, 2020. This guidance becomes effective October 2, 2020. For information regarding implementation, see Appendix: 2020 Fee Rule Litigation Summary.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating and incorporating relevant Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) content into the USCIS Policy Manual. As that process is ongoing, USCIS has moved any remaining AFM content to its corresponding USCIS Policy Manual Part, in PDF format, until relevant AFM content has been properly incorporated into the USCIS Policy Manual. To the extent that a provision in the USCIS Policy Manual conflicts with remaining AFM content or Policy Memoranda, the updated information in the USCIS Policy Manual prevails. To find remaining AFM content, see the crosswalk (PDF, 327.05 KB) between the AFM and the Policy Manual.
This technical update replaces all instances of the term “foreign national” with “alien” throughout the Policy Manual as used to refer to a person who meets the definition provided in INA 101(a)(3) [“any person not a citizen or national of the United States”].
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to remove references to Biographic Information (Form G-325A).
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to address adjustment of status applications filed by refugees and asylees under INA sections 209(a) and 209(b).