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ALLAN WERNICK: Getting a green card when asylum is granted – New York Daily News

A newly sworn in United States citizen holds her paperwork during a naturalization ceremony put on by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Homestead, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Q. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services granted me asylum. How can I get a green card? I came to the United States from Venezuela.
Xiomara
A. You may apply to become a permanent resident and get a green card, one year from the day USCIS granted you asylum. You apply using USCIS form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. You can get the form and filing instructions online at uscis.gov/i-485 or by calling USCIS at (800) 375-5283.
Once USCIS approves your adjustment of status application, the agency will send you your green card. USCIS should backdate the approval one year. That means that you can become a U.S. citizen after four years permanent residence instead of the usual five years. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, it is two years under the special rules for the spouse of a U.S. citizen.
USCIS approves most adjustment of status cases. Unless you have a criminal record or lied on your asylum application, you should be fine.
Q. I am a Catholic priest, here on an R-1, temporary religious worker visa. I work as a chaplain. How can I get permanent residence? What forms do I file?
Name withheld, New York City
A. You start the process by filing USCIS form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. Your employer must sign the petition on your behalf. Once USCIS approves the petition, you can file for your green card using USCIS form I-485. If you are a national of El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras, you will have to wait a few years before applying for your green card. That’s because of a backlog in the quota for religious workers from those countries.
Ministers of religion and other religious workers from all denominations may qualify for a green card. The applicant must have worked for two continuous years in the religious profession prior to the filing of the immigrant petition.
Given that you are working as a chaplain, USCIS should approve your petition. For some claiming religious worker status, the nature of their work can be an issue. The work must be of a religious nature. Priests and other clergy working in non-religious professions — for example, math teachers in a parochial school — would not qualify.
Allan Wernick is an attorney and director of the City University of New York’s Citizenship Now! project. Email questions and comments to questions@allanwernick.com. Follow him on Twitter: @awernick.
Copyright © 2022, New York Daily News
Copyright © 2022, New York Daily News

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