permanent resident card in the USA

How do I get a Green Card in the United States as a Special Immigrant or a Refugee/Asylee?

If you are here, you may be asking yourself questions such as: How do I obtain a Green Card in the United States? What are the benefits, if any, of getting a Green Card? How long does the process take? How or where do I apply for a Green Card? Aside from explaining who is eligible to obtain a green card, we will explain the timeframe it may take for the entire process, however, note that it can vary between individuals and each specific case. We will also discuss the potential benefits and where to apply for a Green Card over a series of blog posts.

In this blog post (Part 1b) we will cover who is eligible to apply for a Green Card, specifically how to do so as a special immigrant and through refugee or asylee status.

Green Card as a Special Immigrant:

The third eligibility criteria to apply for a green card is as a special immigrant. You may be eligible to apply as a religious worker (minister or non-minister) if you:

  • Have been a member of a non-profit religious organization in the U.S. for at least 2 years
  • Have been working for the last 2 years continuously as a religious minister or in a religious vocation/occupation in a professional/non-professional capacity
  • Seek to enter the U.S. just to work as a minister or in the religious vocation/occupation of your employer’s denomination

You may be eligible to apply for a Green Card as a special immigrant juvenile* if:

  • You properly file I-485 form
  • You were inspected and admitted or inspected and paroled into the U.S.
  • You are physically in the U.S. at the time of filing the I-485 form
  • You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa
  • You have an immigrant visa immediately available when you file the I-485 form and USCIS makes a final decision on your application
  • You have no applicable bars of adjustment of status
  • You are eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other type of relief, or are admissible to the U.S. for lawful permanent residence
  • You merit favorable exercise of USCIS discretion

*To be classified as a special immigrant juvenile, USCIS must approve an individuals I-360 form. Once approved, special immigrant juveniles are considered paroled with the purpose of applying for adjustment of status, regardless of how they arrived to the U.S.

You may be eligible to apply for a Green Card as a Afghanistan or Iraq national if you:

  • Were an Afghan or Iraqi translator or interpreter of the U.S. government
  • Were an Iraqi employed by the U.S. government for at least 1 year in Iraq on or after March 20,2003
  • Were an Afghan employed by the U.S. government or International Security Assistance Force

You may be eligible to apply for a Green Card as an international broadcaster through the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) if:

  • Your form I-360 has been approved, filed on your behalf by the USAGM
  • You are admissible to the U.S.
  • An immigrant visa is immediately available to you

You may be eligible for a Green Card as an employee or family member of a recognized international organization or North Atlantic Treaty Organization if:

  • You or your spouse are a retired officer or employee of an international organization
  • You are a surviving spouse of a decreased officer or employee of an international organization
  • You are an unmarried son or daughter of a current or former officer or employee of an international organization

For additional information and thorough criteria, visit USCIS here.

Green Card through Refugee or Asylee Status:

You may qualify for a Green Card as an asylee or refugee status if you meet the following criteria:

  • Asylee
    • Properly file an I-485 form
    • Are physically present in the U.S. at the time you file the I-485
    • Have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 1 year after being granted asylum
    • Continue to meet definition of a refugee, or the spouse or child of a refugee
    • Have not resettled in a foreign country
    • Grant of asylum has not been terminated
    • Are admissible to the U.S. for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibly or other relief
    • Merit the favorable exercise of discretion

How long does it take to get a green card?

This question will be covered in an upcoming future post. Stay tuned!

What are the benefits of getting a green card?

This question will be covered in an upcoming future post. Stay tuned!

Where do I apply for a green card?

This question will be covered in an upcoming future post. Stay tuned!

  1. USCIS Green Card
  2. Green Card Eligibility Categories
  3. Green Card Processes and Procedures
  4. How to apply for a Green Card
  5. I-485 Form
  6. I-485 instructions

This blog does not intend to answer all questions as each individual case is unique. We recommend you visit the USCIS website for all up to date information regarding permanent residence in the United States. If you need any assistance with the process of obtaining a Green Card/Permanent Residence in the United States, or with any other legal questions, call the Law Offices of Jesus Martinez today to schedule a consultation at (559) 777-6587.

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