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GRANT OF ASYLUM

What happens after the asylee/refugee status is granted?

After refugees/asylees have been in the U.S. for one year, they are eligible to become permanent residents (Green Card holders). Unlike refugees, only 10,000 asylees each year are allowed to become permanent residents. And if the individual fulfils all requirements of eligibility, he or she may apply for U.S. citizenship five years after being granted a lawful permanent resident status.

What financial benefits and assistance do refugees receive?

The circumstances under which refugees leave their country are different from those of other immigrants. Often they are fleeing persecution without the luxury of bringing personal possessions or preparing themselves for life in a new culture. Recognizing this fact, the federal government provides transitional resettlement assistance to newly arrived refugees.

Private voluntary agencies contract with the Department of State to provide for a refugee’s food, housing, employment, medical care, counseling, and other services in the first 90 days to help the refugee make the transition to economic self-sufficiency. Certain refugees are entitled to a special program of Refugee Cash and Medical Assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and administered by the state in which the refugee resides.

While most newly arriving immigrants are barred from receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and Food Stamps until they become citizens, refugees are exempt from this ban for the first seven years after they gain refugee status.