Special Eligibility for Asylum, Refugee, and VAWA

When Refugees Can Apply to Naturalize

If you were granted refugee status while in another country, and then entered the U.S. as a refugee, you can count your date of U.S. entry as the beginning of your permanent residence. All your years as a refugee in the U.S. will count toward the required five years of permanent residence for naturalization eligibility purposes. This is known as the “roll back” rule.

 

When Asylees Can Apply to Naturalize

If you were granted asylum in the U.S., a maximum of one year of your time in asylee status counts as a permanent residence. If you waited longer than one year to apply for your green card, you will still need to wait another four years after your green card grant before applying for citizenship.

 

When VAWA Self-Petitioning Spouses of U.S. Citizens Can Apply to Naturalize

If you are a battered spouse of a U.S. citizen who was granted approval of an I-360 on that basis and you have been an LPR for three years, you can apply for U.S. citizenship immediately, without having to show that you are still residing with the citizen spouse. In addition, it does not matter if you are still married to the citizen or divorced.

You can also apply after three years as an LPR if your abusive spouse has died.

 

When VAWA Self-Petitioning Children of U.S. Citizens Can Apply to Naturalize

If you received your green card as an abused child of a U.S. citizen with an approved I-360, you can apply for naturalization after three years as an LPR. You can apply even if your parent has died. When you apply for naturalization under these circumstances, you no longer need to meet the definition of a child.

 

When VAWA Self-Petitioning Spouses and Children of LPRs who Naturalize Can Apply to Naturalize

If you have an approved I-360 based on being the spouse or child of an abusive LPR, and that LPR naturalizes, then you may also be able to take advantage of the three-year rule. You need to wait to apply for U.S. citizenship until not only you have spent three years as a VAWA green card holder, but your abusive spouse or parent has been a U.S. citizen for three years as well.