Legal Information: Federal


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December 17, 2020

When and how can I become a lawful permanent resident if I have asylum status?

If you have asylum status, you may apply for lawful permanent residence one year after being granted asylum. You will have to show that:

  • you been in the U.S. for at least one year; and
  • you are not prevented from becoming a lawful permanent resident due to the “grounds of inadmissibility.”1Note: If the grounds of inadmissibility do apply to you, you can ask the government to “waive” them for humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity, or if it’s in “the public interest.”2 In other words, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will consider the pros and cons of your application to decide whether you should get lawful permanent residence despite the fact that you one or more of the grounds of inadmissibility apply to you.

You must work with an immigration attorney to figure out whether the special “inadmissibility ground” barriers apply to you. Some of the inadmissibility rules do not apply to asylum applicants2 but the rules are very complicated and your lawyer will need to know what the immigration and federal courts have said about them to answer the government’s questions correctly. Plus, it is easy to file the wrong forms, fill them out wrong, or forget to include something you must include. To find a list of legal resources in your area, please see Finding a Lawyer and select your state or see our National Organizations - Immigration page.

1 INA § 209(b)(5); 8 USC § 1159(b)(5)
2 INA § 209(c); 8 USC § 1159(c)

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