Legal Information: Federal


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May 21, 2013

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

Yes.  If you were admitted as a refugee, you are required by law to apply for a green card (permanent residence) in the United States one year after being admitted 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; and
  • Have not already acquired permanent resident (green card) status.*

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 here and scroll down to the section called “Supporting Evidence For Form I-485” to read the long list of documents that must be filed.  As in 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 - International/ Immigration page.

See USCIS website's “Green Card for a Refugee”