There are a variety of reasons why individuals immigrate to the United States. Many people come here for employment or education opportunities. Others come here to join family members after they secure visas or become permanent residents or citizens.
The third major group of immigrants who come to the United States are those fleeing persecution in their country of origin. Someone already in the United States when a sudden political shift occurs in their home country could potentially apply for asylum so that they don’t have to go back and face persecution.
Those who have not yet entered the United States may be able to apply for refugee status to secure permission to enter the country.
Who qualifies as a refugee?
Anyone looking to come to the U.S. as a refugee must be currently living outside of the United States and be of special humanitarian concern. An applicant typically must either have already endured persecution or fear ill-treatment because of their religion, nationality, political views, race or membership to a specific social group.
Only those who meet all of the standards for entry, including the ability to pass a background check, can enter the United States. Refugees can potentially bring spouses or unmarried children under 21 with them when they come to the U.S.
Qualifying for refugee status isn’t guaranteed
Unlike many other forms of immigration, there are no charges to apply for refugee status. However, the process has plenty of possible pitfalls, including the risk of mistakes or inadequate supporting documentation for your claim.
Learning more about refugee placement in the United States before you apply for it is critical. An attorney can go over the steps that you will want to take if you plan to move forward in this process.