After having been granted asylum, you move a step closer to qualify to file the citizenship form, N-400. You can adjust your status to a legal permanent resident ( green card holder) with the USCIS one year after being granted asylum. In addition, you can also submit petitions to sponsor 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 (the asylee) should prove that you have been physically present in the US for one (1) year after having been granted asylum status and that you remain a refugee (with a “well-founded fear of persecution,” etc.). In addition, you also have to establish the fact 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.”
You have to file the following documents with the USCIS to adjust status:
- 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 (such as copy of lease, bills or receipt of government benefits)
- Valid proof for change of name (if you have legally changed your name since getting asylee status.
Unlike other foreign nationals who have to prove that they are not “likely to become a public charge”, asylees need not do that. Even receiving means-tested benefits such as public assistance or SSI will not prevent you from qualifying for legal permanent residence. Asylees can also request a waiver of the filing fee for the adjustment of status application (Form i-485) if he/she can prove that paying the fee would result in financial hardship.
Once you have filed, you will receive an interview notice along with a medical examination form that you will have to complete per the instructions. In case you had entered the US with fraudulent documents (such as a passport purchased on the black market), you will be required to submit an application for a waiver of inadmissibility by filing Form I-602.
The adjustment of status interview will primarily focus on eligibility for adjustment to permanent residence and not on the underlying asylum claim. Not all asylees who file to adjust status will have interviews. Decisions on some applications at times are made merely on paper.
A legal permanent resident can submit an application for citizenship (Form N-400) to become a US citizen five years after becoming a permanent resident. Once the adjustment of status application is approved, the date of admission is one year before the date of approval of the adjustment of status application and which means the wait to apply for american citizenship is reduced to four years which is five years for other permanent residents. Citizenship,the highest immigration status in the US has many advantages when compared to permanent residency.