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May 21, 2013

What are the benefits of having refugee status?

If the application is approved, the refugee will be able to travel to the U.S. and enter the country with a valid visa.  Also, the refugee will have the following benefits - s/he will be:

  • Immediately able to work in the US, based on his/her Form I-94, which contains a refugee admission stamp.  Also, s/he will later be granted work authorization through an Employment Authorization Document (EAD);*
  • Eligible for adjustment of status (applying for legal permanent residency/green card) after one year of being granted the refugee status. (Note: In fact, the law says that refugees are required to submit an application for permanent residence one year after entry** - please talk to a lawyer for more information on this); and
  • Able to sponsor her/his spouse and unmarried minor children within the first two years of being granted refugee status.*** Note: Unmarried minor children (under the age of 21) could include an adopted child (if the adoption meets the requirements in INA § 101(b)(1)(E)) and a step-child who became your step-child before s/he turned 18.****

* See USCIS website
** 8 CFR § 209.1(a),(b); see USCIS website
*** See USCIS website
**** INA § 101(b)(1)