To apply for adjustment of status, individuals with asylum and refugees must meet certain requirements. Specifically, they must have been physically present in the United States for at least one year following their grant of asylum or refugee status. However, there are exceptions to this requirement for individuals who were prevented from physically being present in the United States due to compelling circumstances beyond their control.

The new USCIS guidance clarifies what embodies “compelling circumstances” for the physical presence requirement. Compelling circumstances may include serious illness or injury, the need to care for a seriously ill or injured family member, or a natural disaster or another catastrophic event.

In addition, applicants for adjustment of status must still meet all other eligibility criteria, including admissibility requirements and background checks.

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