USCIS Updates Policy Guidance to Clarify the Applicability of the 1-year Physical Presence Requirement for Refugees and Asylees applying for Adjustment of Status.

Posted on Feb 05, 2023

Existing USCIS policy requires asylees and refugees to demonstrate that they have been physically present in the U.S. for at least one year after being granted asylum or being admitted as a refugee in order to be eligible to adjust status and obtain permanent residence in the U.S. However, despite this similar requirement, USCIS guidance has differed in regards to the timing of filing the application for adjustment of status for asylees and refugees, requiring refugees to apply for adjustment of status one year after being admitted into the U.S. in refugee status.

Over time, USCIS discovered that this policy created a problem for refugees because it is impossible for a refugee who has traveled outside of the U.S. during the one-year period to satisfy both this filing requirement and the physical presence requirement at the time of filing for adjustment of status. The result was that some refugees filed for adjustment of status, as required by the policy, but were found to be ineligible because they had not satisfied the physical presence requirement.

In light of the inconsistency and the unfair results that it produced for refugee applicants, USCIS updated policy guidance to clarify that both asylees and refugees are required to satisfy the one-year physical presence requirement at the time that USCIS adjudicates the application for adjustment of status, rather than at the time of filing. This update is effective immediately and applies to all adjustment of status and naturalization applications that are pending with USCIS on February 2, 2023, and all applications that are filed after that date.

For more information about this new USCIS policy guidance concerning asylees and refugees, contact U.S. Immigration Lawyer Sean D. Hummel to schedule a consultation: (954) 385-3111 or

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