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If you are in the US in a legal status and qualify to apply for a green card based on being sponsored by an employer or family member or holding asylee or refugee status, you are required to file Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident. This form has to be filed with the USCIS.

Who can apply?

To be eligible for filing this form, you should currently be in the US and have an approved immigrant petition. To put it in simple terms, adjustment of status is the process where a foreign national applies for a lawful permanent residence (green card) while being in the US. Unless you are applying in a visa category for which visa numbers are always available, you should have a “current” Priority Date in order to qualify. Priority date means the date you filed the immigrant petition. If you are applying because you are married to a US citizen, the parent or child will also be eligible to file this form to adjust status at the same time the immigrant petition is filed.

If you were in an asylee or refugee status for one year or more, you are eligible to adjust status to a green card holder. You cannot adjust status if you are outside the US. If you are abroad, you should apply for an immigrant visa at a US consulate there. Even Cuban nationals who want to change the date their permanent residence began in the US, also have to file Form I- 485.

Form I-485 has to be filed with the appropriate supporting documents and the submission fees with the USCIS service center that has jurisdiction over your area. Persons who are 79 years of age or older need not pay the biometric fee. There is no fee if you are filing this form based on being admitted to the US as a refugee. After reviewing your application, if it is rejected, the USCIS will inform you through a letter that will have the details as to why the application was rejected.

It is important to remember that if you are not in a legal status in the US, the process to remove you will start as soon as your application is rejected. So after your application is rejected, you can have an immigration judge review the rejection of your application during removal proceedings. Under such instances, immigration officials have to justify their decision and prove that the information on your I- 485 application were false and that your application was rejected for a reason. Even after this review, if the judge decides to remove you from the country, you can further appeal this decision. You have 33 days for the appeal after the immigration judge passed the judgment to get you removed from the country. Your appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals after your appeal form and the required fee are processed.

 

 

 

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I-131 is the form that is used to apply for a re-entry permit, refugee travel document or advance parole travel document, to include parole into the US for humanitarian reasons. Advance Parole is for applicants who have filed Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status to Lawful Permanent Resident and who wish to travel before their I-485 application is approved. A Refugee Travel Document is for applicants who hold Refugee or Asylee status in the US and who intend to travel outside the US. Re-entry Permit is for green card holders who will be outside of the US for an extended period of time, generally one year or more.

The mailing address is very important while filing the form. Applicants filing Form I-131 based on their pending or approved Form I-821 are required to file the form with the USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility, else the form will be sent back. Do not forget to include a copy of the I-797, Notice of Action that shows that your application was accepted or approved. If you are applying to get your advance parole document renewed, the USCIS will accept and adjudicate Form I-131 filed up to 120 days before the date your current Advance Parole document expires.

Applicants have to get fingerprinted at an Application Support Center (ASC). If you are applying for a Refugee Travel Document when you are abroad, your biometrics will be an overseas USCIS facility. As part of the USCIS biometric service requirement, applicants between 14 and 79 years of age applying for a Refugee Travel Document or Re-entry Permit are also required to get fingerprinted. After you have filed this application, after reviewing it, the USCIS will inform you in writing of the time/location of your biometrics appointment. Make sure you appear for biometrics, else it it might result in your application being possibly rejected. The biometric fee is $85 and applicants for Re-entry Permit and/or Refugee Travel Documents aged between 14 and 79 are required to submit it.

You have to pay the USCIS a fee of $360 for advance parole or re-entry permit. For a Refugee Travel Document for an applicant aged 16 or older, it is $135. For a child under the age of 16 years, it is $105. For applicants aged between 14 and 79, a biometric fee of $85 is required for a Reentry Permit and a Refugee Travel Document , unless the applicant resides outside of the US at the time of filing their form. However, biometric fee is not required for advance parole applicants.

 

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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.

Citizenship :

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.

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