The U.S. immigration system provides a number of services and protections to individuals in need of refuge from natural and man-made disasters, persecutions, and other urgent situations. This list is non-exclusive, please refer to United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) website for more information.
|STATUS||WHO IS ELIGIBLE?||WORK AUTHORIZATION||PERMANENT RESIDENCY PATH|
|Refugee||Someone who is outside of the United States who is persecuted or fears persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular group. Must not be firmly resettled in another country and is admissible to the United States.||Yes, with I-94 containing refugee admission stamp/authorization.||Yes. Must apply one year after arrival to the United States.|
|Asylee||Someone who physically present in the United States who is persecuted or fears persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular group. Must apply within one year of last arrival in the United States.||Yes, can apply after 150 days have passed after filing asylum application and no decision has been made. Can work upon grant of asylum.||Yes. Can apply after one year after grant of asylum.|
|Battered Spouse, Children & Parents |
|Someone who is a spouse of an abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident who suffered battery or extreme cruelty by spouse. Must be a person of good moral character, have entered marriage in good faith and have resided with spouse.|
Someone who is a child of an abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident who suffered battery or extreme cruelty by parent. If 14 years old and older, must prove good moral character. Must have resided with abusive parent.
Someone who is the parent of an abusive U.S. citizen at least 21 years old who suffered battery or extreme cruelty by adult son or daughter. Must be a person of good moral character and have resided with abusive son or daughter.
* If currently living abroad, you may file if the abuser is an employee of the U.S. government, the abuser is a member of the uniformed services, or you were subjected to battery or extreme cruelty in the United States.
|Yes, with approved Form I-360.||Yes, with Form I-360 approval.|
|Victim of Trafficking |
|Someone who is physically present in the United States, is a victim of trafficking, who cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. Must be able to demonstrate extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if removed from the United States and must be admissible (or waiver of inadmissibility).||Yes, employment authorization is granted the same time as the T nonimmigrant status. No need to file Form I-765 separately.||Yes, may apply for permanent residency after three continuous years in T nonimmigrant status; maintained good moral character; complied with law enforcement requests for assistance; be able to demonstrate extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if removed from the United States and must be admissible.|
|Victim of Criminal Activity|
|Someone who is a victim of a qualifying criminal activity who suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result. Must have information about the criminal activity and was helpful, are helpful or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime, which occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws. Must be admissible to the United States or file a waiver of inadmissibility.|
*Qualifying criminal activities:
• Domestic violence
• Female Genital Mutilation
• Felonious Assault
• Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
• Slave Trade
**Also includes similar activity and attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit listed crimes. Click here for a full list.
***You may also file if you are outside the United States.
|Yes, employment authorization is granted the same time as the U nonimmigrant status. No need to file Form I-765 separately.||Yes, may apply for permanent residency after three continuous years in U nonimmigrant status and have not unreasonably refused to provide assistance to law enforcement.|
|Temporary Protected Status |
|Someone who is physically present in the United States and is an eligible national of a country designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely or is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.|
*Usually designated when there is an ongoing armed conflict (civil war) in the country; an environmental disaster (earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic; and other extraordinary temporary condition.
**Applicant must not be removable from the United States; must have filed during registration period and have been continuously present and residing in the United States since the effective date of designation.
Click here for more information, including a list of designated countries.
|Yes with TPS status.||No, but may apply for nonimmigrant status, adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition or any other benefit/protection, if eligible.|
|Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals|
|Someone who is:|
• at least 15 years old,
• was under the age of 31 as of June 2012
• came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday
• have continually resided in the country since June 15, 2007
• must have had no lawful status
• Physically present on June 15, 2012 and at the time of application.
• Currently in school, have graduated from high school, has a GED or an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard of the Armed Forces
• Not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors and not a threat to national security or public safety.
*If younger than 15 years old, must be in removal proceedings or have a voluntary departure order and not detained.
|Yes, valid for 2 years, but must file Form I-765.||No, but may apply for nonimmigrant status, adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition or any other benefit/protection, if eligible.|
|Special Immigrant Juveniles Status|
|Someone who is under 21 years old with a state court declaration that they are a dependent of the court; it is not in their best interests to return to their home country and cannot be reunited with a parent due to abuse, abandonment or neglect. |
Cannot be married and must be in the United States at the time of filing.
|Yes with permanent residency or asylum application.||Yes, unless you are or were a risk to people or property due to mental or physical disorder; a prostitute or pimp; drug addict or abuser; or an alien smuggler.
EXCEPTIONS: If you are now getting medical treatment, were forced into prostitution, were arrested only once for 30 grams or less of marijuana or had smuggled only parents or siblings into the U.S.
For more information and for other forms of humanitarian relief, please visit the USCIS site.
The immigration process is complicated. It is important to seek the advice of an immigration attorney to evaluate the best course of action and present your case in the clearest and best possible light.