A refugee is a person who is fleeing his or her native country due to past persecution or a fear of future persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. If an individual is already in the U.S., he or she can apply for asylum. If an individual is outside the U.S., he or she can apply to be in the U.S. refugee resettlement program. Once you are admitted to the U.S. as part of the refugee resettlement program, or you have been successful in being granted asylum, you must begin rebuilding your life in the U.S. You may not have even the most basic possessions with you, and you may be alone. Even if you are with other family members, you may not know anyone else in your immediate area. If you are part of the refugee resettlement program, the government and some non-profit organizations can help you get settled into housing and provide you with some basic necessities, such as food, clothing, medical care, and counseling, for a short period of time. You also will get help in finding employment and enrolling your children in school, if need be. As a refugee, you automatically will have authorization to work in the U.S. so that you can support yourself and your family. One year after being granted refugee status or asylum, you can apply for legal permanent resident status, which is commonly known as getting a green card. After living in the U.S., refugees can apply to become U.S. citizens, although they are not required to do so. You can simply remain a legal permanent resident if you wish. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you can apply for U.S. citizenship after three years of entering the U.S. You must have lived in the U.S. at least half of that time, and you cannot have left the country for more than six months at a time. You also must have good moral character, have a face-to-face interview, and pass tests on English, U.S. history, and government. You also must swear allegiance to the U.S. Aside from our firm’s tips on the practical aspects of transitioning to an American citizen, Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. is an Oakland immigration law firm who has dedicated their practice to protecting the interests of immigrants who are seeking to remain in the U.S. and facing potential deportation. We are prepared to build the strongest case possible in order to defend you against deportation. Contact us today to set up your legal consultation and discover what assistance we can offer to you and your family.