The Journey of a Refugee to the United States

Step 1 – Homeland

A refugee is a person who must leave his or her homeland due to persecution or fear of persecution for religious, political, racial, and/or ethnic reasons. In 2015 it was reported that 60 million people were displaced and 19 million of those were refugees.



Step 2 – Refugee Camp

Most refugees wait a long time, on average seven years, in a refugee camp. The camps are often guarded and refugees remain in these camps until a new country grants them permission to enter.


Step 3 – UNHCR Interview

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) interviews all refugees and the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) interviews those who may be headed to the U.S. Only those who can prove they are escaping persecution are eligible for entry. Each year less than 1% of the refugees waiting to be resettled into a third country are permitted to do so (worldwide resettlement). 


Step 4 – Arrival

The U.S. admits approximately 70,000 refugees each year, with the exact number determined by Congress. Each arriving refugee is assigned to an agency like World Relief to provide basic services during the refugee’s first 90 days in the U.S. To establish self-sufficiency, newly arrived refugees need housing, transportation, English Language education, and employment. In the long run, though, what refugees need most is a new sense of community. Will you join us in welcoming our newest neighbors? Click the Serve tab to learn more today!