Refugee FAQ

How can I apply for resettlement to the United States?

A detailed description of eligibility for U.S. resettlement is available here.

 

I need asylum in the United States. Can HIAS help me?

If you are physically present in the United States, you may be eligible for asylum in the U.S. For more information, see Form I-589 (Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal), which can be found here. You may wish to consult an attorney or Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative at your own expense prior to filing an application for asylum. HIAS can evaluate your claim for asylum, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accept your case. You should contact Simon Wettenhall (simon.wettenhall@hias.org) at HIAS.

I need a sponsor to come to the United States. Can HIAS help me?

HIAS does not provide sponsors. You should contact the nearest office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for information on resettlement options. You can find the closest office at the bottom of this page.

Does refugee status expire?

Refugee status is granted indefinitely and has no expiration date once the refugee has arrived in the United States. However, refugees are required to apply for permanent resident status (a green card) a year after living in the U.S.

I am a refugee. If I resettle in the U.S., can I bring my relatives after I arrive?

Spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of a refugee are eligible for derivative refugee or asylum status and that is true whether the relatives are located in another country or are physically present in the U.S. To bring them to the U.S., the refugee must submit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Form I-730 within two years of the date of entry as a refugee. 

I am a Syrian refugee. Can I apply for resettlement in the U.S.?

You may be eligible for access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. If you are no longer in Syria you should contact the local office of the UNHCR (U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

I am a Syrian currently in the U.S. Can I get asylum in the U.S.?

If you are physically present in the United States, you may be eligible for asylum. For more information, see Form I-589 (Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal) which can be found here. You may wish to consult an attorney or Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representative at your own expense prior to filing an application for asylum. HIAS can evaluate your claim for asylum, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accept your case. You should contact Simon Wettenhall (simon.wettenhall@hias.org) at HIAS.

I am Jewish and live in Ukraine. I would like to leave. Can I come to the United States?

Individuals who believe they are eligible for refugee status under Lautenberg must complete a Preliminary Questionnaire (PQ) for each family member 14 or older and send the PQs and supporting documentation listed in the PQ instructions to their relative in the United States. All PQs must have the original signature. The PQ may be obtained from any local refugee resettlement agency in the United States. For agencies in the HIAS network, please click here. Once the stateside relative receives the completed PQs, she/he must contact the local refugee resettlement agency to make an appointment to complete an Affidavit of Relationship (AOR). HIAS must receive individual applications from local resettlement agencies by September 10, 2014.

I am an Iranian religious minority (Jewish, Christian, Bahai, Zoroastrian or Mandean) and I want to apply for refugee resettlement to the United States. How do I do this?

You must first identify a person in the United States who is willing to act as your U.S. Tie. This person must be your friend or relative and must be known to you personally. This potential U.S. Tie should visit a refugee resettlement agency in their area to inquire about the application process, the documentation required and their responsibilities as a U.S. Tie. The refugee resettlement agency staff will provide all necessary application materials and instructions. Further information about the application process can be found here.

I live in Russia (or one of the countries of the former Soviet Union) and I would like to leave due to the persecution of minorities. Can HIAS help me?

Citizens of the countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, who presently reside in the territory of the former Soviet Union, are eligible to apply for the refugee program under the Lautenberg Amendment if they (1) can prove their membership in one of the religious minorities subject to persecution in FSU (Jews, Evangelical Christians, Ukrainian Catholics, and members of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church) and (2) have first-degree relatives permanently residing in the United States. First-degree relatives include spouses, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren. Aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins are not considered first-degree relatives.

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