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Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) Asylum Seeker vs Refugee

asylum seeker vs refugee
asylum seeker vs refugee

Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) are individuals granted the right to live and work permanently in the United States, enjoying most of the rights and benefits of U.S. citizenship, except for voting rights. These generally fall into two categories – asylum seeker vs refugee.


A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee their country due to persecution, war, or violence and has been granted refugee status. An asylum seeker is someone who is seeking refuge and protection from persecution but has not yet been granted asylum.Β 


This blog post will explore the distinctions between asylum seeker vs refugee status for LPRs, including eligibility criteria, application processes, rights, benefits, challenges, support resources, and how to seek asylum in USA.


Refugee Status for LPRs


A refugee, under U.S. immigration law, is someone unable or unwilling to return to their home country due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.


LPRs can obtain refugee status by meeting the eligibility criteria set forth by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), including proving persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. The process typically starts in your home country or a staging country where you usually attend a pre-screening process at a designated Resettlement Support Center.

Application Process


You must first obtain a referral from the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for refugee consideration. The application process for LPRs seeking refugee status then involves submitting Form I-590, Registration for Classification as Refugee, and undergoing interviews and screenings by USCIS.

Refugee Entitlements


If your refugee status is granted, you get immediate employment authorization, and can also request travel documents for travel outside the USA. An asylum lawyer can help with this process. Next, after one year’s residence in the U.S., you can apply for a Green Card (Lawful Permanent Status). Lastly, five years after being granted lawful permanent residency you can apply for full U.S. citizenship.


immigration lawyer asylum
immigration lawyer asylum

Asylee Status for LPRs


An asylee, under U.S. immigration law, is someone who meets the same criteria as a refugee but is already present in the United States or at a port of entry and applies for asylum protection.

Application Process


LPRs can obtain asylee status by demonstrating eligibility for asylum, including proving persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. The application for asylum for LPRs involves submitting Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, and undergoing interviews and screenings by USCIS.


After filing Form I-589 you may have to attend a biometrics appointment. This is to obtain government records of your fingerprints, photographs, and other IDs. If an appointment is scheduled for you, attendance is mandatory and failure to attend could result in your application being declined.


Once any biometrics appointments are completed, you usually have to attend an asylum interview. This is conducted with a USCIS officer and typically takes at least one hour. During the interview, the officer quizzes you on your application and aims to understand the validity of your story and case for sanctuary.


From the point of filing Form I-589, it takes on average 180 days to receive a decision on your claim. During this period you can legally stay in the U.S. and can apply for work. If denied, there are appeal processes with the Board of Immigrant Appeals.


attorney asylum
attorney asylum

Asylee Entitlements


If your asylum application is accepted, you can apply for employment authorization documents, but you are immediately given the authorization to work. You are also eligible to apply for a green card and may be privy to other benefits, which we outline below.

Rights and Benefits of Refugee and Asylee Status for LPRs


LPRs with either status (asylum seeker vs refugee) have access to employment authorization documents (EADs) and can work legally in the United States. They are eligible for social services, including healthcare, education, and housing assistance.Β 


LPRs with refugee or asylee status can also travel outside the United States and re-enter with proper documentation, and they may eventually be eligible for citizenship through naturalization. A summary of the potential benefits is listed below:


  • Work authorization.
  • Access to healthcare (such as Medicaid).
  • Housing assistance (Many charities offer housing support for refugees).
  • Refugee Cash Assistance (Cash benefits while applications are pending).
  • Access to education (The ability to enroll in public schools).
  • Social Services (This varies by State).


It’s important to note that in the asylum seeker vs refugee conundrum, benefits will vary from case to case depending on your personal circumstances and the resources you have.

Challenges and Considerations


Adjusting status for LPRs with refugee or asylee status may involve navigating complex legal processes and meeting additional requirements. Maintaining refugee or asylee status requires compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations, including reporting changes in circumstances to USCIS.


Changes in immigration policies and regulations can impact the rights and benefits of LPRs with refugee or asylee status, necessitating vigilance and advocacy. To help navigate this often difficult process, a US attorney asylum professional can help. Their specialized knowledge and understanding of the process will give you the required guidance to create a strong application.


How to seek asylum in USA
How to seek asylum in USA

Support and Resources for LPRs with Refugee or Asylee Status


Legal aid organizations, such as refugee and immigrant rights groups, assist with applications, appeals, and legal representation. Also, community support networks offer practical assistance, language support, cultural orientation, and social integration opportunities for refugees and asylees.


Staying informed about immigration policies, accessing relevant services, and building social connections are crucial for LPRs with refugee or asylee status to thrive in their new communities. These are things you can look to build once you have completed your refugee or asylum application and an immigration lawyer asylum specialist can provide info on these groups and resources.

Asylum Seeker vs Refugee – Understanding the Difference

Understanding the distinctions between asylum seeker vs refugee status for LPRs is crucial for ensuring access to protection and opportunities for integration. Although the criteria for the asylum seeker vs refugee argument is similar, how to apply and the underlying process differs, and you must make sure you fit into the right classification.


Remember, to claim refugee status, you must be located outside the U.S. and want to flee from persecution in your home country. In contrast, asylum seekers must be located within the U.S. or at a port of entry but also face persecution or fear in their home country. For further clarification and an introduction to the application process, an asylum attorney can provide all the guidance and support you need.



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