FAQ Asylum & Refugee Difference

Asylum and Refugee Difference

Who is eligible to apply for a refugee status?

Usually a person who has fled his country due to persecution and now resides in another country is eligible to apply for refugee status. But the US refugee laws do not facilitate mass scale exodus from war torn countries or those devastated by natural disasters. Such victims may however be eligible as refugees under the UNHCR.

What’s the difference between asylum and refugee status?

Difference between an asylum and refugee is that a refugee has not yet entered the US but person holding an asylum has. A refugee is bound by law to apply for permanent residency after a year of stay as a refugee with refugee visa. An asylum is not legally bound to do so. Below is some information necessary to know when applying as a refugee in the U.S.

A refugee is a person who has fled his or her country of origin because of past oppression or a fear of future persecution based upon race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. If the person is outside the United States, he or she may apply for inclusion in the U.S. refugee program. If the person is already in the United States, he or she may apply for the U.S. asylum program.

Each year, the United States resettles a limited number of refugees. Refugees may be eligible for a USCIS interview for resettlement in the United States if:

  1. UNHCR, or the U.S. Embassy, or a non-governmental organization refers them to the United States for resettlement.
  2. They are members of specified groups with special characteristics in certain countries determined by the United States.
  3. They have a relative in the United States who is a refugee or asylum. Generally, refugees must be outside their homelands to be eligible for the U.S. refugee program.

The U.S. Department of State Resettlement Service Centers (RSC) carries out most of the casework preparation for refugee eligibility interviews. They pre-screen applicants, help prepare the applications for USCIS, initiate background security checks, and arrange medical examinations for those refugees approved by USCIS. Following USCIS approval, the processing entity also asks for the names and addresses of any relatives in the United States, for details on the person’s work history and job skills, and for any special educational or medical needs of the refugee and accompanying family members, in order to determine the best resettlement arrangements for the refugee.

Can I bring my spouse and kinds with me? 

If your spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 were not with you at the time of your interview, they will be able to follow you to the United States, but you will have to file a Form I-730, Refugee/Asylum Relative Petition, for each of them.

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