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Legal Information: Federal


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May 21, 2013

Who is eligible for refugee status? Where is refugee status granted?

Refugee status may be granted to someone who:

  • is outside of his/her country of nationality (and outside of the U.S.);
  • is of special humanitarian concern to the United States;
  • is not firmly resettled in another country; and
  • is unable or unwilling to return to, or to get protection from, his/her country of nationality because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on one or more of the following:
    • race,
    • religion,
    • nationality,
    • membership in a particular social group, or
    • political opinion.*

The refugee status is granted in an American consulate or Embassy outside of the U.S. The refugee enters the U.S. with a “Refugee status” in his/her I-94 card (Arrival/Departure Record). 

* INA §101(a)(42)(A); see USCIS website