Green Card For Refugees and Asylees

greencard for refugees

The United States is a safe haven for persons who have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

The U.S. extends protection to eligible foreign-born nationals by providing a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship through two programs: refugee resettlement program and asylum program.

Location at the time of applicationApplies for protection while outside the U.S., which can be in their home countries, refugee camps or at designated processing sites outside their home countriesApplies for protection while they are physically present in the U.S. or at a U.S. port of entry
Eligibility- Must prove persecution or well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular group, or political opinion
- Must not be inadmissible to the U.S. on the ground of criminal activity, persecution or terrorism
FeesNo USCIS fees associated with the application
Admission Process*
  1. Receive a referral from U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (see below)
  2. File an application and be interviewed to determine eligibility
  3. If approved, receive a medical exam, cultural orientation and loan to travel to the U.S.
  4. Enter the U.S. with a refugee admission stamp

U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP)

The USRAP is an inter-agency effort of governmental and non-governmental partners. The first point of contact is with the local staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which screens and interviews a person wo claims persecution or danger of future persecution. In the absence of local UNHCR, there are non-governmental organizations that are also authorized to make referrals to USRAP.

    Affirmative Asylum
  1. File an asylum application within 1 year of arrival in the U.S.
  2. Appear for fingerprinting and background security checks
  3. Appear for interview
  4. If deemed eligible, asylum status will be granted
    For Asylum Seekers at Port of Entry
  1. Request for asylum at the border if fleeing from persecution
  2. Establish credible fear at immigration detention
  3. If credible fear is established, there will be a hearing on the asylum claim before the immigration judge
  4. If deemed eligible, asylum status will be granted
    Defensive Asylum
  1. Apply for asylum if placed on removal proceedings, expedited removal procedure or found ineligible for asylum at the end of the affirmative asylum process
  2. Face possible detention at Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  3. Appear before an immigration judge for a hearing on the asylum claim
  4. If deemed eligible, asylum status will be granted
Rights/ Benefits- Bring spouse and children to the U.S.
- Remain in the U.S. indefinitely
- Apply for a work permit and for government support for a limited time
- Apply for U.S. permanent resident status after a year of entry
- Apply for U.S. citizenship after four years of permanent residency
- Bring spouse and children to the U.S.
- Remain in the U.S. indefinitely
- Apply for a work permit as soon as their asylum is approved (exception: when no decision has been made after 150 days from the time of filing a complete application)
- Apply for U.S. permanent resident status after a year of approval
- Apply for U.S. citizenship after four years of permanent residency

*Condensed process for illustration purposes only. Not intended to be an exhaustive legal discussion of the admission process.


Our firm recognizes the need to extend legal assistance to the most vulnerable individuals. For this reason, our attorneys handle a number of asylum and refugee cases.

If you believe that may qualify to obtain asylum status in the U.S., feel free to ask any questions and we will reach out to you.

Documenting your case

The success of an asylum application depends primarily on documenting the case. The role of an attorney is vital in communicating your story to the adjudicator and helping you obtain asylum status. D&A focuses on Asylum and Refugee cases on a very individualized basis. Our Asylum and Refugee Practice attorneys will engage you on a very personal level in the preparation and representation of your claim.

At D&A, we can provide assistance making referrals for expert witnesses and testimony, including experts on country conditions in your country of origin, as well as a medical and psychological expert who can provide evaluations to corroborate evidence of maltreatment.

Preparing you for the interview

The grant of asylum is a matter of discretion and the interview is crucial in establishing your claim. D&A can guide you step-by-step on what to expect during the interview.

Appearing at the interview

You may be represented by counsel during the interview provided there is no expense to the government. During the interview, we may present evidence relevant to your claims (i.e. persecution, torture) and present a statement at the end of the interview to solidify your asylum claim.

Post Asylum – The Next Steps

Our assistance does not finish at the grant of asylum status. There are many additional overwhelming tasks that you will have to deal with in the United States and D&A professionals may help you with the following post-grant issues:

  • Obtaining I-94 to establish asylee status
  • Securing work authorization (if not automatically granted)
  • Securing refugee social services/asylee benefits
  • Reuniting with family if spouse and children were not included in the application
  • Requesting for travel documents
  • Applying to adjust status