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Legal Information: Federal

Immigration

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Updated: 
December 18, 2020

How can I apply for lawful permanent residence once I am a refugee?

If you are in the U.S. in refugee status, you are required by law to apply for lawful permanent residence (a “green card”) one year after you came into the U.S. To get lawful permanent residence, both of the following must be true:

  • you have not lost your status and have been physically inside the U.S. for at least one year after you came in as a refugee; and
  • you are not barred from getting status by the “grounds of inadmissibility” or you ask USCIS to “waive” any “inadmissibility” barriers you face​.1

It is easy to file the wrong forms, incomplete forms, or put the wrong information in the forms, so you should work 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.

1 See USCIS website’s Green Card for Refugees