The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated their guidelines for refugees and asylees regarding physical presence in this country. Specifically, USCIS states that both refugees and asylees must have been present in the United States for at least an entire year in order for the agency to process their applications to register for permanent residency in this nation, or to adjust their legal status. Prior to these updates on physical presence, immigrants were allowed to only be present in the United States during the time that they were filing to adjust their status applications.
The objective of these revisions on physical presence is to encourage uniformity across applicants for asylee and refugee adjustment of status. If USCIS is unable to establish whether an applicant fulfills the one-year physical presence requirement solely from investigating the applicant’s files and records, then they may ask for further information and evidence in order to prove them being in the United States for the necessary time.
Among the updates on physical presence, this policy update also has technical effects. These technical reconditions regulate citations for asylum termination processes, deleting references to the out-of-date Form I-291, decision on application for status as permanent resident, and clarifying the processing stages for refugees requesting exemptions of inadmissibility.