The United States is among the many countries that deal with tens of thousands of individuals who seek refuge. Many of them have to escape from their motherland in fear of political or religious persecution. Others are victims of war who can no longer live another day in a place where it has become too usual to hear opposing groups exchange gunshots in the middle of the road or make cars explode.
According to the data collected from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics, the government allowed approximately 85,000 people to come to the US as refugees in 2016. That is a significant jump from 2014 in which they only admitted almost 70,000 applicants.
Refugees may arrive in their new countries expecting a warm welcome and streets lined with gold. — Lisa Aronson Fontes Ph.D.
In case you are also hoping to look for protection and a new home in the United States, let the following steps be your guide to obtain refugee status.
- Know If You Are Eligible
Your primary concern should be figuring out if you meet the basic requirements that the country asks from its applicants. For one, you should still be in your motherland or have not settled in another nation when you are applying. Your government has persecuted you due to your race, political views, nationality, or gender. It is also imperative to show that you have not faced deportation or committed any offense in the US before.
- Figure Out If You Should Apply For Refugee Status
Once you are confident about your eligibility, you can now think if the refugee status is the best and only option for you to enter the foreign land. Assuming you have relatives there, after all, you may be able to apply for a different visa. In case you are already on the way and merely need passes at the port of entry, it is more advisable to strive for asylum.
- Get Screened At A USRAP Or UNHCR Office
With the certainty that you are better off with refugee status, you should search for the local office of US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) or United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Either institution may have a branch in your country; that’s why they are quite easy to visit. After the initial screening is over, they can direct you to a nearby US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office.
Connect the dots, and one can see that stable communities are likely to be those with a higher concentration of new immigrants (including refugees) who are committed to home ownership, educating their kids, and taking advantage of the opportunities offered to them. — Michael Ungar Ph.D.
- Fill Up Application Forms
When you reach the said establishment, you may get the fillable documents that are possibly essential for your application. The most significant of them all is theForm I-590 a.k.a. Registration for Classification as Refugee. It is typical to add forms G-325C and FD-258 to the list as well so that you can provide your biographical data and allow the firm to get your fingerprints, respectively.
- Prove Your Identity And Need For Refuge
While filling up your submission papers, you will notice that many questions aim to figure out who you areand why you seek to immigrate. To boost your chances of gaining approval, it is ideal to use this period to gather evidence about yourself and your financial stability, e.g., birth certificate, property title(s), certificate of employment, income tax returns, et cetera. More importantly, it will help to prove how unsafe it is for you to stay in your home country.
- Go To The Interview
When you have every necessary document in your hands, you may then schedule an interview at the USCIS office. How the process usually goes is that an immigration officer will take your papers, review them, and ask a few things about you. They only base the inquiries to what’s on your forms; that’s why you should answer accurately and truthfully.
Often, the reasons why some people do not become a citizen of a country to which they reside include legal channels that have become too expensive, the process is long and drawn out, complicated, scary, confusing, etc. —
Your admission in the United States will always lie in the hands of the immigration personnel who interviewed you. At times, you may come across one who is quite easy to speak with. Other times, there may be an officer who may not even look up at you before denying the application outright.
You can merely follow the steps above and hope for the best to increase the probability of obtaining refugee status. Good luck!