HIAS FAQ

Who is a refugee?

Refugees are people who have been forced to flee their homelands due to persecution – harassment, threats, abduction, or torture, because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group such as LGBT persons, or political opinion.

What is the difference between an asylum seeker, a refugee and an asylee?

An “asylum seeker” is anyone who has fled persecution in his/her home country and is seeking safe haven in a different country, but has not yet received any legal recognition or status. A “refugee” is a person who has been recognized in the new country as having fled due to persecution, and has been afforded some sort of legal protection, either by the new country’s government, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or both. In the United States, a “refugee” is someone who has been provided with legal status by the U.S. government overseas, and then brought to this country to reside permanently. An “asylee” is someone who came to the U.S. without official refugee status, (an “asylum seeker”) who has since been granted legal status by the U.S. government.

Where does HIAS work?
HIAS works on the ground, assisting refugees in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and the United States.
What does HIAS stand for?

Originally, we were the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. But as we expanded our mission to protect and assist refugees of all faiths and ethnicities, our name no longer represented the organization. We are now known as HIAS.

How can I get an acknowledgement of my donation for my taxes?
Please contact Lisa Polakov at lisa.polakov@hias.org to confirm a donation and request a letter for tax purposes.
Is the HIAS website secure?

The personal data we collect about you is stored on a secure, password-protected server. We use industry-standard encryption technologies with respect to the receipt and transfer of personal data you submit on our site and only authorized personnel have access to your information. Nevertheless, despite our best efforts, no transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure.

HIAS does not use any cookies that are permanently written to your computer's hard drive or retained by HIAS or our vendors. HIAS.org does set "session-specific cookies" to help run its interactive online applications. Please see our privacy policies for more information.

Does your website track my personal information?

If you provide your personal information on our website, we do collect it and if you opt in or sign up, we will use your information to communicate with you in the future. The website does place cookies on your computer. However we do not sell or rent this information to third parties. Please see our privacy policies for more information.

Can I request that HIAS not share my name and address with other charities?

If you would prefer that HIAS not share your name or mailing address with other charities, please contact Lisa Polakov at lisa.polakov@hias.org.