Refugee Lawyer in Texas
HOUSTON & DALLAS REFUGEE ATTORNEYS
Are you a family member of someone who has recently fled their home country to escape persecution? If so, you may be wondering what the process of seeking refuge in the United States will entail.
Fortunately, there are experts available to help guide you through the complex legal process.
Davis & Associates, Texas refugee lawyers, can provide vital support and advice as you work to secure safety for your loved one.
With their help, you can feel confident that your relative is getting the best possible chance at a new life.
What Is Refugee Status?
Refugee status may be granted to someone who is located outside of the U.S. and seeks legal entry and protection in the United States due to persecution, or fear of being persecuted, in their home country. Persecution may be due to race, nationality, religious beliefs, political opinion, or membership in a certain social group. Persecuted groups may be pressured to join militants or violent gangs and be threatened with death if they refuse.
Who Qualifies for Refugee Status?
You must be located outside of the U.S. to be considered for refugee status. Not all adverse conditions in your home country qualify you for resettlement in the U.S. For example, if you fled your country due to a natural disaster or a civil war, you may not be eligible. You will not be considered if you participated in the persecution or harm of others in any way.
How Do You Apply for Refugee Status?
If you’re seeking refuge in the U.S., you must first get a referral to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) to be considered.
Once you have a referral you will have to complete an application for refugee status, and assistance will be provided to you.
You will then be interviewed by a USCIS officer who will decide whether or not you qualify for resettlement in the U.S. as a refugee. If you’re granted refugee status you will be issued Form I-94, which gives you one year of legal residency in the U.S.
Can Your Family Come With You If You’re a Refugee in the U.S.?
Your spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 and live abroad may join you in the U.S. To do so you must file Form I-730 within two years after you arrive in the U.S.
If your spouse, unmarried children who are under 21, or your parents are refugees outside of the U.S., you may be able to reunite with them on American soil through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. To get the application process started for your eligible relatives to come to the U.S. as refugees, you need to file what is known as an Affidavit of Relationship, which documents information on your family relationships.
How Long Can You Stay in the U.S. as a Refugee?
After one year as a refugee in the U.S. you may apply to become a lawful permanent resident, which is to get your green card. Here is the documentation and evidence you will need to apply:
- Form I-485 (This is your application to become a lawful permanent resident. As a refugee, you don’t have to pay the filing fee for this form, or the fee for biometric services)
- A copy of Form I-94, which shows proof of your admission into the U.S. as a refugee
- Evidence that you’ve been living in the U.S. for one year
- Your birth certificate, if it’s available
- A copy of your identity document with photo (government issued)
- Two photographs that show you facing front, and looking straight ahead (passport style)
- Form I-693 (medical examination and vaccination record report)
Can You Work If You’re a Refugee?
Yes, you can work immediately after you arrive in the U.S. After you are granted refugee status you will receive Form I-94, and you can use that to show a prospective employer that you’re approved to work in the U.S. An application for employment authorization (Form I-765) will be filed on your behalf so that you can obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Can You Become a Citizen If You’re a Refugee?
After living in the United States with a permanent residence for five years, you may apply for U.S. citizenship. The USCIS will allow you to apply for citizenship 90 days before you reach the 5-year requirement. To determine your early filing date simply count back 90 calendar days from the 5-year anniversary of the admission date on your Green Card.
What’s the Difference Between Refugee Status and Asylum?
Refugees are people who are located outside of the United States at the time they apply for entry and protection. Asylum seekers are already physically in the U.S., or at a United States port of entry, and are requesting permission to stay. Eligibility for being granted protection and residency, and the benefits that result, are the same in both cases. Unlike a refugee, an asylee does not have to apply for a Green Card after one year of living in the U.S.
Do You Need to Talk to a Refugee Lawyer?
If you’re thinking about asking the U.S. government for refugee status, we may be able to help you. Our experienced refugee lawyers offer free consultations and can give you the legal advice you need to begin moving forward in the right direction.