• You may come to the U.S. as a refugee to escape political, religious, or racial persecution by the government or groups in your home country.
  • You may be granted political asylum so you will not have to return to face political, religious, or racial persecution in your home country.
  • After one year as a refugee or political asylee, you may be eligible to apply for a green card.
  • You may live anywhere in the U.S. and stay in the country until you either get a green card or it is safe to go home. Ш You have the freedom to work at any job in the U.S., or not work at all.
  • Immediate family members (spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 years of age) may receive refugee or asylee status automatically along with you, and may also receive permission to work and travel.



  • If you require travelling outside of the U.S., you must request to do so by getting a special travel document, or you will lose your special status.
  • Only after five months of filing an application for political asylum can you apply for a work permit.
  • Political asylees (but not refugees) are subject to an annual quota on green cards, which may mean long delays of months (or years) before a green card is issued. If the persecution in your home country ends before your wait for a green card is up (for asylees), you may lose your special status and may have to leave the U.S.



  • Applicants for both refugee and asylee status must have experienced persecution in the past or have a well-founded fear of persecution in the future in their home country.



  • Applicants for refugee status must apply for status while outside of the U.S.; applicants for asylum cannot apply until they are in the U.S.
  • You must provide evidence that you have not already been permanently settled in another country § a financial sponsor inside the U.S. is required before an application can be approved (refugees only).