Asylees becoming US citizens
June 4, 2011 § 1 Comment
As an asylee, you can adjust your status to a lawful permanent resident ( green card holder) of the United States one year after being granted asylum. Apart from this, you can also petition for your family members (spouse, minor children, and unmarried adult sons and daughters) for legal permanent resident status in the US. To apply to adjust status, you have to file Form I-485 with the USCIS.
You should prove that you have been physically present in the US for one year after having been granted asylum status and that you remain a refugee (with a “well-founded fear of persecution,” etc.). You should also have to prove that you have not resettled in any foreign country and also that you are not “inadmissible” or warrant a waiver of applicable grounds of “inadmissibility.”
While adjusting status, you have to file the following documents with the USCIS:
- Form I-485 and appropriate fee
- Form G-325
- 2 passport size photographs
- Fee for Fingerprinting
- Evidence of asylee status (copy of I-94 and letter granting asylum or any decision by an Immigration Judge)
- Birth certificate
- Proof that you have been living in the US for the last year
- Valid proof for change of name (if you have legally changed your name since getting asylee status.
Asylees need not prove that they are not “likely to become a public charge”. Even if you are receiving means-tested benefits such as public assistance or SSI, it will not prevent you from applying for legal permanent residence. You can also request a waiver of the filing fee while adjusting status if you can prove that paying the fee would result in financial hardship.
Once you have filed the I-485 form, you will receive an interview notice from the USCIS along with a medical examination form that you are required to complete per the instructions. If you had entered the US with fraudulent documents (such as a passport purchased on the black market), you should submit an application for a waiver of inadmissibility through Form I-602.
You will then have an interview that will primarily focus on eligibility for adjustment to permanent residence and not on the underlying asylum claim. However, not all asylees who file to adjust status will have interviews.
As a lawful permanent resident, you can submit Form N-400, application for citizenship to become a US citizen after five years of becoming a permanent resident. Once Form I-485 is approved, the date of admission is one year before the date of approval of the adjustment of status application. It means the wait to apply for american citizenship is reduced to four years (generally is five years for other permanent residents). Citizenship is the highest immigration status in the US and it has many advantages when compared to being a permanent resident