Non-citizens already present in the United States who are not lawful permanent residents (LPRs) may apply for adjustment of status to LPR. This process relates to program eligibility in several ways. Only LPRs may become United States citizens.
Refugees normally adjust their status 1 year after arrival in the United States. The process is currently completed through a mailed application. If the person has no barrier to admission in the United States, the adjustment is automatic.
Asylees may also apply for adjustment 1 year after their asylee status is granted, but there is an annual limit of 10,000 people who may adjust to LPR.
Though refugees and asylees may have adjusted to LPR, their eligibility for cash and food assistance programs is still based on their original U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) status. See 0011.03.18 (Non-Citizens - People Fleeing Persecution).
Battered spouses and/or children of United States citizens or LPRs who are non-citizens may be eligible to self-petition for adjustment of status. They may be eligible for assistance while their application is pending. See 0011.03.21 (Non-Citizens - Victims of Battery/Cruelty).
Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), non-citizens who had resided unlawfully in the United States since before 1-1-82 (general amnesty, or section 245A) and certain farmworkers (SAW, or section 210) were allowed to legalize their status through a 3-stage process. Amnesty applicants whose applications were granted were then given lawful temporary resident (LTR) status. The majority of people who legalized under IRCA have become LPRs. However, general amnesty applicants were required to complete English language and United States civics requirements as a condition of adjustment. A few people were unable to complete the requirements and remain LTRs. See 0011.03.24 (Non-Citizens - Lawfully Residing People). There were originally program restrictions on those that adjusted under IRCA but those restrictions are no longer in effect.