- USCIS has updated the USCIS Policy Manual for specific Form N-400 and Form I-485 applicants
- Asylees and refugees must have been physically present in the US for one year when USCIS adjudicates Form I-485.
- The change applies to individuals that have an I-485 or N-400 pending on or after February 2, 2023, and to those who file an N-400 or I-485 on or after February 2, 2023
- USCIS may request additional evidence if it cannot confirm an individual’s length of stay in the US
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has updated guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify that refugees and asylees must have been physically present in the US for a minimum of one year when USCIS adjudicates their Form N-400 or Form I-485.
Historically USCIS required applicants to be physically present in the US for at least 12 months starting from the date they filed their adjustment of status application. The one-year physical presence requirement is now calculated backward from the date USCIS adjudicates the application. The new guidance applies to all Form I-485 and Form N-400 applications that are filed on or after February 2, 2023, along with applications that are pending on that date.
Along with changing the date from which the physical presence requirement is calculated, the USCIS Policy Manual update clarifies that asylee and refugee adjustment of status applicants who previously had J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant status and who were subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement through the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 212(e) are no longer required to meet the two-year residency requirement or obtain a waiver to change their status under INA 209.
Additionally, the Policy Manual update clarifies the process for refugees seeking waivers of inadmissibility. USCIS also removed reference to Form I-291 in its policy guide and added regulatory citations for asylum termination procedures.
USCIS updated its policy manual to create consistency between an asylee and refugee adjustment of status applications. USCIS may request additional evidence if it cannot determine whether an applicant satisfies the one-year physical presence requirement.
Written by: Lucy Halse, Content Marketing Associate, Envoy Global
Edited by: Frank Fogelbach, Supervising Attorney, Corporate Immigration Partners
Source: US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)