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Are individuals granted asylum eligible for a U.S. green card?

One thing a person who is granted asylum here in the U.S. may be concerned about is their long-term immigration situation. They may worry about how future changes in their or their home country’s circumstances might impact their ability to stay in the U.S. under asylum status. So, they might desire a more stable long-term status, such as being a green card holder.

Under U.S. immigration law, individuals who have been granted asylum generally are eligible to pursue a green card and permanent resident status. However, there are a couple caveats to this.

For one, they can’t apply for a green card right after being granted asylum. A person granted asylum is generally ineligible to apply in their first year of having asylum status.

And once this first year passes, there are still a range of other criteria an asylee has to meet in order to apply for a green card. Things that would generally disqualify an asylee from being able to petition for a green card include: abandoning asylum status, losing admissibility, firmly resettling in another country, no longer fitting into the definition of an asylee and not having been physically present in the U.S. long enough.

Now, being eligible to apply for a green card doesn’t automatically mean a person will have their request for a green card granted. There are all kind of steps and proceedings involved in the green card application process. What happens in them can have significant impacts on an asylee’s likelihood of being granted permanent resident status.

So, the route to getting a green card isn’t necessarily an easy one for an asylee. However, such an individual can seek out help when pursuing this route. Skilled immigration attorneys can help an asylee understand if applying for a green card is an option currently available to them. They can also assist asylees applying for a green card with the various steps of the application process.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Green Card for an Asylee,” Accessed Sept. 21, 2016

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