The U.S. Resettlement Admissions Program uses a system of priorities to categorize refugees in need of resettlement. All refugees who are approved for the resettlement program fit into one of the following three categories
Priority 1 | Priority 2 | Priority 3
Refugee applicants referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a U.S. embassy, or an international non-governmental organization are eligible for priority processing (P-1). Members of designated groups of special concern are eligible for second priority processing (P-2). Refugees of designated nationalities with close family members in the U S. may be eligible for third priority processing (P-3) (currently suspended).
Click Visas 92/93 for information about this category.
Processing priority definitions:
Priority 1 – Refugees referred for third-country resettlement by UNHCR, a U.S. embassy, or an accredited non-governmental organization
Refugee children in Hagadera Refugee Camp.
Photo: Priscilla Muchinyi
This priority includes persons facing compelling security concerns in countries of first asylum, needing legal protection because of the danger of forced return, or facing danger due to threats of armed attack in the area where they are located.
It also includes former political prisoners, women at risk, victims of torture or violence, physically or mentally disabled persons, persons in urgent need of medical treatment not available in the first asylum country, and persons for whom other durable solutions are not feasible and whose status in the place of asylum does not offer a satisfactory long-term solution.
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Priority 2 - Designated groups of special humanitarian concern to the United States
Refugees who have completed Cultural Orientation in Malawi.
Photo by Amina Egal (used with permission).
The U.S. Department of State, in consultation with other government offices, UNHCR, overseas posts, and the non-governmental organization (NGO) community, identifies groups of special humanitarian concern. Only members of the specifically identified groups are eligible.
See the document "Proposed Refugee Admissions for FY 2011 Report to the Congress" (pdf) for more information.
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Priority 3 - Refugees from designated countries who have close family in the United States
Most P-3 processing currently is suspended. For more information, see the document "Proposed Refugee Admissions for FY 2011 Report to the Congress" (pdf).
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CWS RSC/Nairobi processes Visas 92/93 applications submitted on behalf of beneficiaries in Kenya wishing to join applicants who are already resettled in the United States. Petitions submitted on behalf of refugees in other sub-Saharan countries come under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Embassy consular section of the country in which the beneficiary is located.
Eligibility: Individuals admitted to the United States as a refugee or granted status as an asylee within the previous two years must file a Form I-730 for their eligible relative(s). These petitions may be filed for the following people:
- Legal spouse
- Unmarried child under 21 years of age
Note: Petitions for the following people will not be approved:
- A spouse or child previously granted refugee/asylee status
- An adopted child, if the adoption took place after the child became 16 years old, or if the child has not been in the custody and living with the adoptive parent(s) for at least two years
- A stepchild, if the marriage that created this relationship took place after the child was 18 years old
- A spouse, if either was not physically present at the marriage ceremony and the marriage was not consummated
- A spouse, if it is determined that such alien has attempted or conspired to enter into a marriage for the purpose of evading immigration laws
- A parent, sister, brother, grandparent, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, cousin, or in-law
Visa 93 refugee applicants are eligible for travel loans and medical examinations. However, Visa 92 beneficiaries are required to arrange their own transportation and medical examinations.
See Filing for a Relative to find out more about applying for refugee family members.
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