Steps To Gaining Refugee Status

16 December 2015
 Categories: Law, Blog

The number of refugees allowed into the United States each year is set by the president. For instance, in 2015, President Barack Obama set a limit of 70,000 refugees. However, the number who are actually approved can fall below that number. If you have a family member who needs to apply for refugee status, here are some of the steps he or she will need to complete in order to gain legal entry to the country.

Complete Required Forms

To apply for refugee status, your family member must start by completing forms required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS. The forms include the Registration for Classification as Refugee and the Biographic Information forms.

The forms request information, such as the reason your relative is seeking refugee status and biographical information. The form also asks for permission to conduct a background search that can include taking fingerprints and an international criminal records search.

Once the form is complete, your relative must return them with the requested documentation. Documentation needed can include birth certificate and government-issued picture identification.

Obtain a Financial Sponsor

The U.S. government will deny your relative entry into the country if he or she is unable to obtain a financial sponsor. A financial sponsor is someone who is willing to provide financial support to pay for passage to the United States and help with expenses once your relative arrives.

The financial sponsor does not necessarily have to be a family member. A charitable organization, such as a church, can also serve as a sponsor. Once a sponsor is selected, the Affidavit of Support must be completed by the sponsor and submitted to the USCIS.

Submit Evidence

It is not enough for your family member to state there is danger in his or her home country. Your relative must has to show evidence that he or she is facing persecution for his or her beliefs, race, religion, or nationality.

To prove this, your relative can start with a sworn statement. In addition to his or her own words, your relative should seek statements from others, such as other family members, doctors, teachers, and anyone else that can support your relative's assertions.

Another form of evidence can be newspaper articles regarding the events transpiring in your relative's home country. Human rights organizations also routinely publish reports on troubled areas that can be used as evidence.

There are many other steps that your family member has to go through to gain refugee status in the United States. To help ensure that your relative is following the procedures correctly, confer with an immigration attorney or visit