The Complete Guide to Transition From Asylum Status to Green Card

The Complete Guide to Transition From Asylum Status to Green Card

The United States of America has been doing humanity a great service by providing asylum to people from around the world. People from war-ridden and poor countries migrate to the U.S. in search of a better future. The country has established norms to welcome them and provide them with an asylum green card if they qualify for it.

Can Asylum Seekers Move to a Green Card in the U.S.?

As the U.S. is a democracy, it works in the interest of its citizen as well as the world in general. U.S. immigration laws make it clear that asylees can apply for a green card only after spending a minimum of one year in the country. Any asylee who has physically spent one year in the U.S. can apply for a green card.

If your attempt to acquire an asylum green card fails, you can try one of these other options for a green card:

  •       Marry a U.S. citizen
  •       Try your luck in the diversity visa lottery
  •       Look for an employer who is willing to sponsor you

Why You Should Transition From Asylum to a Green Card?

While having asylum status allows you to stay in the U.S. for a long time and build a secure future, transitioning to a green card provides you with a more secure status. With a green card, you have a more clear future because the asylum status provided to you continues only while the situation in your home country is unsafe. The moment your home country starts to show progress or is out of war, the U.S. will request that you move back.

With a green card, you are no longer an asylee and no one is going to ask you to move back to your home country. It is only after obtaining a green card that you can aim for a U.S. citizenship, which is undoubtedly the most secure status.

How to Apply for Permanent Residency (Green Card) as an Asylee?

Step 1: You must continue qualifying for asylum status

Your dream to become a permanent resident of the U.S. starts with your acceptance as an asylee. There’s not much you can do before you are accepted under asylum status in the U.S. You need to present a strong case for being accepted, anything from war-like conditions or a quickly-eroding economy can work in your favor.

Also, your spouse and children can get a derivative grant of asylum along with you.

Step 2: You must continue to be admissible to the U.S.

It is mandatory for you to have physically spent one year in the U.S.before getting accepted for an asylum green card. Your asylee status depends a lot upon your health, financial, and mental conditions. If any involvement in terrorism, drug abuse, or any violation of immigration law is found, your asylee status will be revoked and you will lose an opportunity to apply for an asylum green card.

Step 3: You must maintain your asylum status and not resettle elsewhere

With the bigger goal being the acquisition of an asylum green card in the U.S., you simply cannot travel to other countries or look for resettlement elsewhere. Being physically present in the U.S. is highly mandatory for obtaining an asylum green card.

Visiting your home country is a bad idea because it sends progressive signals and the U.S. might think that you do not require asylum anymore. Visiting any other country is also not suggested because it might make the U.S. think you have either settled elsewhere or are seeking asylum in that specific country.

Documents Needed to Transition From Asylum to Green Card

In order to register for permanent residency, you need to mail Form I-485 to the USCIS and also pay the requisite fees. The Form I-485 must accompany the following documents:

  •       Form I-693. A formal report that reveals your health condition.
  •       Evidence that supports your asylee status in U.S. documents like Form I-94, along with arrival and departure records.
  •       The order issued by the judge granting you asylum in the U.S.
  •       Evidence supporting your physical presence in the U.S. for the last year. You can submit rent slips, bills, government receipts, medical bills, and home lease documents.
  •       You need to ensure that all documents are in English or translated into English before submission.

How to Apply for a Green Card for Your Family Members

If you acquired asylum status in March 2019, then your family, including your spouse and children, are eligible for a derivative asylum from March 2020, which is after you complete one year with asylum status. Your children and spouse need to spend a year in asylum status before applying for their asylum green cards, which means they cannot apply for green cards before March 2021.

You will have to prepare Form I-485 for each member of your family separately and submit them with the requisite fees. You will also have to produce a few documents, which might include:

  •       A marriage certificate
  •       Proof that you are an asylee or have a green card

What Happens After You Apply to Move From Asylum to Green Card?

Once you have filed an application for a green card you will have to wait for a few months, then you will receive a letter requesting that you visit the nearest application support center. At the application support center, you will be required to put in your fingerprints, photograph, and signature into the official record.

USCIS, the agency responsible for granting asylum green cards to immigrants, will run a background check on you. If everything goes right, then within a few months you will be provided with your asylum green card.


The U.S. understands the pain of living in a hostile country, hence they are open to providing worthy people with asylum. You must prove your worth, behave well, contribute to the economy, and you might then be granted a green card and then eventually U.S. citizenship.

All you have to do once your asylum is granted is do well for yourself and for the country you are living in.

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