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Legal Information: Federal


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March 25, 2019

Can I become a lawful permanent resident if I hold refugee status? What are the requirements?

If you were admitted as a refugee, you are required by law to apply for a green card in the U.S. one year after being admitted as a refugee. A green card grants you lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. You may be eligible for a green card as a refugee if you:

  • have been physically present in the U.S. for at least one year after being granted refugee status;
  • have not had your refugee admission terminated;
  • have not already acquired permanent resident status; and
  • are admissible to the U.S. for lawful permanent residence or eligible for forgiveness (a waiver) of inadmissibility1

In order to file for adjustment of status to become a legal permanent resident, there are many forms that you need to file. Go to the USCIS website to find the forms that must be filed. As with any other immigration proceeding, it is always recommended to speak with a lawyer who can help you to file the correct documents. To find a lawyer, please go to the Finding a Lawyer page and select your state or our National Organizations - Immigration page.

1See USCIS website’s “Green Card for Refugees”