What is a Refugee in Immigration Law?

The Immigration and Nationality Act and Refugee Status for Asylum

The INA defines refugee as:

“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 habitually resided, and who 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.” 

 

To qualify for refugee status in the United States, you must meet the definition of a refugee above, plus:

    • You must be referred by the The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or the U.S. Embassy, or you must be a member of a specified group with special characteristics in certain countries.
    • You must not be firmly resettled in another country.  This is defined by whether or not you have been offered resident status or citizenship in that country.
    • You must not be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or a special immigrant.  (In this case, you need to apply for an immigrant visa instead.)
    • You must be living outside of the United States to be a refugee, but have come into the U.S. borders or be at a port of entry into the U.S. to apply for asylum.

 

It is very important that you are designated a refugee if you are seeking asylum in the United States.  For more information on firm resettlement, please read more here.  We are experienced Los Angeles immigration and visa attorneys and can help you in this step to obtain asylum.  Please call or email us for a free consultation.

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