The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its policy guidelines for individuals who have been granted asylum or entered the country as refugees.
According to the update, USCIS has clarified that the calculation of the one-year physical presence requirement for obtaining a green card will be calculated from the time before USCIS makes a decision on the green card application, rather than from the time before the application is filed.
This rule applies to applications pending on February 2nd, 2023, and all applications filed on or after that date. Individuals who have been granted asylum or entered the US as refugees must still wait one year after being granted asylum or entering the US to apply for a green card, but if they have traveled outside of the US during that one-year period, they can still apply for a green card.
Previously, the one-year physical presence requirement for obtaining a green card was calculated from the time before the application was filed. However, USCIS has now clarified that the calculation of the one-year requirement will be made from the time before the agency makes a decision on the green card application.
This new policy will make the process more flexible and accessible for those who have been granted asylum or entered the US as refugees. In addition to these changes, the new USCIS policy update also includes technical updates, including clarifying processing steps for refugees seeking waivers of inadmissibility and removing references to the obsolete Decision on Application for Status as Permanent Resident (Form I-291).
The update clarifies that asylee and refugee adjustment applicants who have held the immigration status of exchange visitor (J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrants) and who are subject to the 2-year foreign residence requirement under INA 212(e) are not required to comply with or obtain a waiver of such requirement in order to adjust status under INA 209.