Do I Qualify For Refugee Status?

American Flag and citizenship paperwork

A refugee is someone who was forced to leave their home country for a valid fear of harm or persecution. Refugee status will protect the person and allow them to apply for benefits, get a job, travel and start the process of becoming a legal permanent resident.

United States immigration law (101(a)(42) Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)) classifies someone as a refugee if they:

  • are located outside of the United States
  • have a special humanitarian concern to the United States
  • demonstrate that they were persecuted or have a fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group
  • Are not firmly resettled in another country
  • Are admissible to the United States

If you are a refugee, you must apply for lawful permanent residency (LPR) status – a Green Card – 1 year after you are admitted to the United States as a refugee.

How to Apply for A Green Card as a Refugee: 

To qualify for a Green Card as a refugee:

  • You must be physically present in the United States for at least 1 year after being admitted as a refugee and your I-94, Arrival-Departure Record was issued.
  • You are admissible to the United States as an immigrant.

To verify you are admissible to immigrate to the US and apply for your Green Card a refugee will need to

  • complete required documentation including proof of status, residency and any criminal records
  • submit medical records
  • provide proof of identity including photos
  • submit biometrics such as fingerprints

Refugees are not required to pay an application fee for a Green Card.

If you make a mistake on your paperwork, that can delay or cause your application to be denied. (link to 5 common mistakes)

Note: USCIS is in the process of strengthening refugee screening and implementing new security measures and procedures.

The Immigration Simplified attorneys work with you to evaluate your refugee status and guide you in your journey to getting a Green Card. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office or call us at (312) 883-9944.

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