How to Immigrate as a Refugee to the United States

If you are under humanitarian duress or persecution, you may be eligible to immigrate as a refugee to the U.S. Learn more about the process.
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The number of refugees in the United States has fluctuated dramatically. Still, one thing remains constant. People in other countries face trials and tribulations. These challenges force them to relocate themselves and their families. Keep reading to learn how to immigrate as a refugee to the United States.

What is a Refugee?

A refugee is different from an asylum seeker. According to United States law, refugees are individuals who are:

  • located outside of the United States
  • of particular humanitarian concern to the United States
  • persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group
  • not firmly resettled in another country
  • admissible to the United States

Additionally, a refugee cannot be anyone who participated in the persecution of someone based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Essentially, seeking asylum is for those already in the United States. They are asking for asylum in the United States because they are scared or their home country is persecuting them. This persecution or fear stems from race, religion, nationality, being part of a particular social group, or political beliefs.

How to Immigrate as a Refugee

To immigrate as a refugee to the United States, follow these steps.

Register with the UNHCR 

First, you must register with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). UNHCR officials will then collect your documentation and do an initial screening.

Next, the UNHCR will refer people who qualify to State Department Resettlement Support Centers (RSCs). There are nine RSCs around the world. However, sometimes this referral is done by a U.S. embassy or a nongovernmental organization.

Wait for Review

Third, the RSC will process your refugee case. They gather information, check your data, and submit it to security agencies for background checks. These checks include multiple forms of biometric screening, such as cross-checks of global fingerprint databases and medical tests. Then, the RSC passes the screenings to the USCIS for the adjudication process.

Adjudication Process

Finally, the adjudication process begins. An officer from USCIS will review all the information and interview the applicants. If the USCIS officer approves, the RSC will help the individual settle in the United States. Further, they will address all health concerns and ensure that no one with contagious diseases enters the U.S.

Transportation to the U.S.

After approval, the RSC will connect with an organization transporting refugees to the United States. The organization will provide all of the necessities for refugees to start their lives in the United States. Further, refugees will depend on these organizations for housing, food, and jobs if they obtain refugee status.

Refugees may come to the United States with their spouse, child, or other family members. Additionally, you don’t need to pay a fee to become a refugee, nor will your personal information be shared with your home country.

What is Temporary Protected Status

Additionally, foreigners can immigrate as a refugee through Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The Secretary of Homeland Security keeps a list of foreign countries with TPS. 

Individuals from these countries are temporarily unsafe because of conditions in their home country, such as:

  • Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)
  • An environmental disaster (such as an earthquake or hurricane) or an epidemic
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions

TPS is a temporary benefit for those who are eligible, and they:

  • are not removable from the United States
  • can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD)
  • may be granted travel authorization

If the U.S. government grants you TPS, the Department of Homeland Security cannot detain you because of your immigration status. Further, you may also be eligible to adjust your status to obtain permanent residence.

If you are seeking asylum, refugee status, or TPS, speaking with an immigration lawyer in Texas is essential. They will ensure that you take the proper steps and have a strong case.

What’s happening with Ukraine Refugees?

It usually takes 18 months to 2 years to become a refugee and enter the U.S. However, President Biden is trying to make the process faster for Ukrainians because of the current situation.

The Uniting for Ukraine program responds to the Russian occupation and ongoing aggression in eastern Ukraine. The program allows eligible Ukrainians to come to the United States for two years. However, Ukrainians must have a supporter in the U.S. who will agree to provide financial support for their stay in the United States.

Why Hire an Immigration Lawyer in Texas?

If you are seeking immigration as a refugee, it is essential to have an immigration attorney by your side. They know the process and can help you navigate through the system.

People who want to come to the United States as refugees face many challenges. However, an immigration lawyer can help make the process easier. They will ensure you follow all the steps needed to qualify as a refugee.

An immigration lawyer in Texas can help ensure you are doing everything correctly. Therefore, if you are applying for refugee status in the U.S., Dooley Noted Law can help. We can teach you more about the process and how we can assist you. Schedule your free consultation today. Let us help you take the first steps in starting a new life in the United States.

The contents of this post, and the posting and viewing of the information on this post, should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues.

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