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Green Card for an Asylee: Overview

If USCIS granted you asylum status, you are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) 1 year after receiving your grant of asylum. Your spouse and children are also eligible to apply for a green card if they were admitted to the United States as asylees or were included in your grant of asylum.

You are not required to apply for a green card; however, it may be in your best interest to do so. You may no longer qualify for asylum status with the right to remain permanently in the United States if:

  • country conditions change in your home country or
  • you no longer meet the definition of an asylee due to changed circumstances.

Eligibility Criteria

If you are an asylee, you may apply for a green card 1 year after being granted asylum if you:

  • Have been physically present in the United States for at least 1 year after being granted asylum
  • Continue to meet the definition of a asylee (or continue to be the spouse or child of such asylee)
  • Have not abandoned your asylee status
  • Are not firmly resettled in any foreign country
  • Continue to be admissible to the United States (A waiver may be available to you if you are now inadmissible)

Asylum Based on Nationality

If you have come to the United States seeking protection from persecution based on your nationality, you may be eligible for asylum in the US. If you are of a particular nationality, including an ethnic or linguistic group, that has been seriously threatened or have experienced physical, psychological, or economic harm by your own government or an uncontrolled group then you may be able to qualify for asylum.

Seeking asylum based on nationality can be complicated since it can often be tied to one’s political opinions, religious beliefs, racial background, and other values or cultural distinctions.

Reasonable Fear of Persecution

An individual will be found to have a reasonable fear of persecution if he or she credibly establishes that there is a reasonable possibility he or she would be persecuted in the future on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The legal standard is the same standard used to establish a well-founded fear of persecution in the asylum context.

In contrast to an asylum adjudication, a finding of reasonable fear of persecution cannot be based on past persecution alone, in the absence of a reasonable possibility of future persecution. A reasonable fear of persecution may be found only if there is a reasonable possibility the applicant will be persecuted in the future, regardless of the severity of the past persecution. This is because withholding of removal is accorded only to provide protection against future persecution and may not be granted without a likelihood of future persecution. However, a finding of past persecution raises the presumption that the applicant’s fear of future persecution is reasonable.

We will be happy to clarify all intricacies of these cases. Please contact us for more information.

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