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How to seek refuge in the U.S.

To seek refugee status, you must be outside the U.S. and believe you will be persecuted in your country. Find out if you and your family can qualify as refugees and how to apply.

Learn if you are eligible and how to apply for refugee status

To be eligible for refugee status, you must be:

  • Outside the United States
  • Able to demonstrate that you were persecuted or have a fear of persecution in your home country due to your:
    • Race
    • Religion
    • Nationality
    • Social group
    • Political opinion

In most cases, it can take several months or more to go through all of the steps in the process of seeking refuge. Typically, to apply, you must first register with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the country to which you have fled. UNHCR will determine if you qualify for refugee status. Learn more about the process of seeking refugee status, including:

  • Coming to the U.S.
  • Bringing your family to the U.S.
  • Finding a job
  • Filing for permanent residency (Green Card)

How to sponsor a refugee 

If you came to the United States in the last 2 years as a refugee, you may be able to sponsor your spouse and qualifying children to join you.

Find out how to sponsor your family member for refugee status. Learn:

  • How to qualify as a sponsor
  • Who is eligible to be sponsored to come to the U.S.
  • How to download and fill out Form I-730 to request the refuge of your family member

LAST UPDATED: January 8, 2024


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