Green Cards for Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Individuals who have been granted asylum or refugee status, as well as their eligible family members, have special opportunities to obtain green cards. Asylees are able to apply for Permanent Residence one year after being granted asylum, while refugees are required to apply for a green card one year after entering the US as a refugee. The families of asylees can apply for Permanent Resident status one year after their arrival in the US.

Basic Requirements for Obtaining a Refugee/Asylee Green Card


  • Must have physically resided in the US for at least one year after entering as a refugee
  • Must meet the admissibility requirements for US immigration
  • The refugee admission status must not have been terminated


  • Must have physically resided in the US for at least one year after being granted asylum
  • Must meet the admissibility requirements for US immigration
  • Must continue to qualify as a refugee or be the spouse or child of a refugee
  • Must not have firmly resettled in a foreign country

Application Procedure for Refugees/Asylees

Refugees and asylees must file Form I-485 with the USCIS to adjust their status to Lawful Permanent Resident. For refugees, the approved I-485 will retroactively adjust their status to the day they entered the US as a refugee. Asylees will have their status adjustment date rolled back by one year.

For more information on political asylum, please click here. 

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