The RSCMENA Resettlement Process

Persons of special humanitarian concern who can establish persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion may be considered for admission to the United States as refugees.
RSCMENA provides processing services to refugees who are eligible for resettlement to the United States under the USRAP.

Access to USRAP

Refugee applicants may be eligible to access the program through one of the following designated priorities:
Priority One: Individual Referrals
UNHCR, designated non-governmental agency (NGO) or Embassy-identified -referred individuals with compelling protection needs or those for whom no other durable solution exists.
Priority Two: Group Referrals
Groups of special concern to the U.S. identified by the Department of State in consultation with USCIS, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UNHCR, and other experts.
Priority Three: Family Reunification Cases
The Priority 3 category is family-based and is now open to all nationalities admitted to the United States as refugees or granted asylum, as well as SIV recipients from Iraq and Afghanistan.
All other criteria and guidelines still apply. Individuals who are at least 18 years of age and who have been admitted into the United States for fewer than five years are eligible to file a P-3 AOR.
All Qualifying Family Members (QFMs) and derivatives must still be located outside their country of origin, and be registered by either UNHCR or the country of asylum, to be processed and considered for refugee status via P-3, with the following exceptions:
  1. U.S.-based family members may file an Affidavit or Relationship (AOR) for QFMs who are nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and have not left their country of origin. These QFMs may be processed within their country of nationality. All other criteria and guidance related to eligibility for the P-3 program stand. If QFMs are outside their country of origin, they must be registered by UNHCR or the country of asylum.
  2. U.S.-based Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients may file P-3 AORs for their QFMs and derivatives who are within or outside their country of origin.
  3. U.S.-based Afghan SIV recipients may file P-3 AORs for their QFMs and derivatives who are outside their country of origin only.

USRAP Eligibility Criteria

Applicants for refugee admission to the United States must meet all of the following criteria:
  • Meet the definition of a refugee contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act in Sec. 101(a) (42);
    Any person who is outside any country of such person's nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
  • Be among those refugees determined by the President to be of special humanitarian concern to the U.S.;
  • Be otherwise admissible under U.S. law; and
Although a refugee may meet the above criteria, the existence of the USRAP does not create any entitlement for that person to be admitted to the United States. Applicants who meet the criteria above and who fall within the priorities established for the relevant nationalities or region are presented to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for determination of eligibility for admission under Section 101(a)(42) of the INA.

USRAP Process Overview

Please check out the short video below created by the Cultural Orientation Resource Exchange (CORE), which provides an overview of the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) process.

Steps of Processing

Step 1: Case Creation

A refugee case file is created upon receipt of a UNHCR Refugee Resettlement Referral Form (RRF), Application for P2 Direct Access Program, Affidavit of Relationship from family members in the United States or an Immigrant Visa Petition.

Step 2: Acceptance to the Program

A case is granted access to the program after it meets eligibility requirements set forth by PRM.

Step 3: Prescreening Interview

RSCMENA conducts an in-depth interview with refugee applicants in order to prepare their case files. The interview collects biographical information, reasons for flight and information regarding past persecution.

Step 4: USCIS Interview

Officers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) review the case file compiled by RSCMENA and conduct an in-person interview with each refugee applicant to determine eligibility for admission to the United States. The ultimate determination as to whether an applicant can be admitted as a refugee is made solely by USCIS.

Step 5: Security Checks

Before an individual is admitted to the United States for resettlement, the U.S. Government must complete a number of security clearances, some of which are finalized in the days and weeks prior to departure for the United States. Security checks are completed throughout the entire duration of the process and must be cleared before a case can depart for the U.S. RSCMENA has no role in this process. Please visit the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website for additional information on refugee processing and security screening.

Step 6: Medical Examination

Medical examinations are required for all applicants prior to entry to the United States. RSCMENA coordinates medical examinations with IOM and U.S. Embassy panel physicians.

Step 7: Resettlement Agency Placement

Cases traveling to the U.S. are assigned to a Resettlement Agency, which is responsible for receiving refugees and providing certain benefits upon arrival in the United States.

Step 8: Cultural Orientation

Prior to departure, approved refugees over the age of 14 are eligible to participate in cultural orientation (CO) classes provided by RSCMENA. The purpose of CO is to prepare refugees for resettlement by providing them with a basic introduction to U.S. life and culture.

Step 9: Travel

RSCMENA coordinates with IOM operations colleagues to book refugees for travel to their final destination. IOM is responsible for organizing travel arrangements for all refugee cases worldwide.

Avoid and Report Fraud

Resettlement processing services are free of charge. Do not pay any money to anyone or agree to do anything as a favor for anyone in exchange for processing services or assistance. Please check out the short video below created by the Cultural Orientation Resource Exchange (CORE), which provides an overview of how to avoid and report fraud.
RSCMENA is operated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Amman, Jordan as part of a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). All resettlement services are free of charge. Report suspected fraudulent activity to RSCMENAFraud@iom.int
Copyright © 2024 International Organization for Migration (IOM)