U.S. Department of State Processing Priorities
Below are the current processing priorities for refugees, as determined by the U.S. Department of State. They are evaluated annually and submitted in a Report to Congress.
Individual Selection -- Priority 1:
This priority is for individuals from any country that has been officially recognized (by UNHCR or he U.S. Government) as a refugee and for whom resettlement is seen to be the best option. This could be a person who spoke out against government practices, or a woman who was raped and is now ostracized by her community.
Group Selection -- Priority 2:
This status is for specific groups who have been identified by the Department of State, in conjunction with other national and international groups, as being in need of resettlement. Often these are people of a specific ethnic, religious or national identity which has been persecuted or oppressed. Such processing is done in-country in the Former Soviet Union, Cuba, and Vietnam. Out of country processing is done for ethnic minorities and others from Burma in camps in Thailand, Burundians in Tanzania, and Bhutanese in Nepal.
Family Reunification -- Priority 3:
This priority is given to refugees who are spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, or parents of individuals already admitted to the U.S. as refugees or asylees. P3 Immigrants come from certain countries designated by the Department of State. In order to bring a relative to the U.S. with P3 designation, you must file an Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) with a local agency.
- Countries with P3 Status: Afghanistan, Burma, Burundi, Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC/Kinshasa), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.
- An Affidavit of Relationship confirms the relationship between a former refugee or asylee living in the U.S (an anchor relative) and their relatives who are overseas seeking refugee status. The form includes biographical information and is filled out at a HIAS affiliate agency and then sent to HIAS headquarters, to ensure that all AOR requirements are met. The form is then sent to the Refugee Processing Center.