United States Refugee Status allows a foreigner (outside the US) fleeing from certain conditions to stay in the US.


There are many conditions that must be met for a person to be considered eligible for Refugee status:

  • 1) Referred by the UNHCR or US Embassy, or a member of a Priority Group:

<Persecuted on basis of religion, race, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a social group>


  • 2) No offers for residential status/citizenship in any other country
  • 3) Not an immediate relative of a US citizen or special immigrant
  • 4) Living outside the US. People living inside the US may apply for Asylum.

Application Process

Step One: Visiting an Office

A person interested in Refugee Status should visit either the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or US Refugee Program (USRP) in order to get information and put him/her in contact with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Step Two: USCIS Application

Main Forms

Upon getting in contact with a USCIS office, you will be provided with forms to fill out. 

 – Form I-590 (the main refugee application)

 – Form G-325C (biographic information)

 – Form FD-258 (fingerprints)

Financial Sponsorship

You must also find a financial sponsor (family member, nonprofit group, church, etc.) that assures you have financial support for travel and initial expenses. They must fill out Form I-34.


Finally, you must provide evidence to support your application:

1) Prove your identity with any identification

2) Prove you were persecuted or fear persecution based on any of the 5 factors listed above

A sworn statement, statements from friends/family, or official membership documents work best

Step Three: Interview

The applicant and his/her family members will be called in for an interview. A successful application and interview will give the applicant and his/her family refugee status.

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