How to Get Refugee Status Under USRP

Under the United States Resettlement Program (USRP), a certain number of people can apply for admission and residency to the United States. Here is an overview of that process.

A person who is outside his or her nation and is unwilling to return for fear of persecution on account of nationality, race, religion, or membership in a particular social group, or political opinion is regarded as a refugee. Every year the President of the United States establishes a ceiling for the admission of refugees after consulting with Congress.

If you are one such person and wish to claim status as a refugee with the help of the United States Resettlement Program (USRP), then you need to do as follows.

(Make sure to see the eligibility rules: Who Is Eligible for Asylum or Refugee Protection in The U.S.?

Steps in the Process

This is a brief outline of the necessary steps. For more detail, please see How to Prepare and Submit a Refugee Application to the U.S.

Get References

You have to obtain a referral from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or the US Embassy in your nation. Obtaining referral refers to placing a request for Priority-1 (P1) interview with USRP.

Attend Prescreening

Joint Voluntary Agency (JVA) or Voluntary agencies conduct pre-screening interviews. Once you get selected, these agencies prepare your case by filling necessary form and preparing documents and submit your applications to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers.

Priority-1 Interview

You will have a personal interview with an USCIS officer. It would be a non-adversarial one whose sole purpose is to extract the information regarding your claim for refugee status.

Test and Assurance

If you are selected in the P-1 interview, then you have to undergo a medical and security tests conducted and must be assigned a sponsor assurance. You have to provide details like your job history, work skills, special educational skills or medical needs if present and details about the accompanying family members. You will get an admission number, and then you will be transported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Transportation cost may be financed if you are not able to finance it; however, you have to agree for the repayment of the airfare paid by the IOM.

Refugee Entry

With these things and refugee admission number, USCIS will authorize your entry into the United States. You will also be given permission to seek employment.

Adjustment of Status to Permanent Resident

After a year in the U.S. as a refugee, if conditions have not improved in your home country, you can adjust your status to a lawful permanent resident. You also become eligible to apply for the naturalization to the US citizenship after 5 years of entry as a refugee.

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