U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has clarified that an asylee or refugee must have been physically present in the United States for one year when USCIS adjudicates the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, rather than when the adjustment of status application is filed. This applies to all Form I-485 and Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, applications that were pending on February 2, 2023, and those filed on or after that date.

The guidance update also clarifies that asylee and refugee adjustment of status applicants previously admitted in J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant status and otherwise subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 212(e) do not need to meet that two-year requirement (or obtain a waiver) to adjust their status under INA § 209.

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