HIAS has welcomed refugees to the United States since the 1880s. Today, HIAS partners with local social service organizations in more than 20 communities across the country, greeting newly arriving refugees and helping them to begin new lives in safety and freedom.

Prior to arrival in the U.S., HIAS is responsible for processing applicable family reunification paperwork, deciding on the appropriate placement of the case, performing status checks with the overseas Resettlement Support Centers and completing transfers between affiliates or with other resettlement agencies. This involves extensive communication with the State Department's Refugee Processing Center for allocation and reconciliation, and with the International Organization for Migration regarding travel bookings.

When refugees arrive to the United States, HIAS helps refugees achieve self-sufficiency. This entails ensuring that refugees can cover basic expenses, are placed in a safe and stable environment, can navigate appropriate and relevant systems, understand their surroundings and situation and can manage daily tasks on their own.

This initial welcome period for each refugee case consists of the first 30 to 90 days of arrival in the U.S. A grant of $1,125 is provided to the affiliate to which the refugee is assigned, and is to be used to cover payments made by HIAS’ local partners to or on the behalf of individual refugees. All refugees receive the following core services during the R&P period:

  • Airport reception
  • Clean and acceptable housing
  • Essential furnishings, food, and clothing
  • Community/Cultural Orientation
  • ESL enrollment
  • Assistance with access to social, medical and employment services

These critical services help the newly arrived to feel welcome, and ease the path to becoming full participants in American life.