The US Congress passed the Refugee Act in 1980. The law defined refugee status and provides five grounds for granting this status. The grounds are the same as for obtaining political asylum in the United States. Likewise, these grounds must exist in the applicant’s home country, or the applicant fears that he will be prosecuted in the future. The grounds are persecution of a person because of his belonging to 1) a certain race; 2) religion; 3) nationalities; 4) a particular social group; 5) certain political views.
Congress in 1989, the law was supplemented by the Lautenberg Amendment as an addendum. In accordance with the Lautenberg Amendment, a special program for the reception of refugees in the United States began to operate with respect to certain categories of citizens of the USSR and CIS residents.
The specific features of this program is that.
The refugee status is granted as a result of an interview in the immigration department of the US Embassy, so do not stay in the US; refugees in the framework of this program can become residents and citizens of the CIS living in the territory of the former USSR and belonging to one of the following categories: Jews, Evangelical Christians, members of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and members of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church. Refugee status can be granted if the applicant has close relatives in the United States.
By close relatives are understood:
parents, spouse, adult children (over 21 years of age) – permanent residents, refugees, persons granted political asylum in the United States, as well as persons who entered the United States on humanitarian grounds; siblings / brothers (adults), also having a migratory status; grandparents and grandchildren of full age, also having a migratory status.
There is no charge for the consideration of your case. Interviews for refugee status are held at the US Embassy. The very principle of interviewing is similar to an interview in the immigration service in obtaining political asylum, but it has some peculiarities. The applicant and his family members are interviewed simultaneously, but in different rooms. Questions can be asked about the documents you provided and the data that you indicated. The survey can be done fairly in a rigid form, but the official’s task is not to demean your human dignity, but to establish whether you are eligible for refugee status. Since quite a few people from the former USSR have already obtained refugee status in the United States, the Congress annually reduces the quota for those wishing to obtain this status among the citizens of the CIS.
Even if you can formally qualify for refugee status in the US, but there is no funded quota, you may be offered to enter the United States on humanitarian grounds and you will receive Parolee status.
However, this status does not give those privileges and benefits for receiving state aid in the form of social benefits, which only a refugee can expect.
Refugee status: requirements and conditions.
Can not obtain refugee status in the United States are those who:
participated in the prosecution of third parties on the grounds of their belonging to a different race, nationality, social group, religion or political opinion; currently resides in any other country, has obtained a residence permit or citizenship; is economically independent, can provide for itself and its family members; applied for refugee status in the United States and was refused in all instances; could not prove that the actions taken against him or the actions that can be undertaken are related to his race, nationality, membership of a particular social group, his political views; lives in a state whose living conditions have changed so much that it is not likely that the applicant will be prosecuted in the future.
Persons who have been granted refugee status can be issued medical insurance. In addition, obtaining a refugee status in the United States means that you have the right to reunite with your family who has stayed abroad, for which you will need to fill out an I-730 form and a relative’s application for refugee status or a political migrant to the migration service. This applies only to your spouse and children under 21 who are not married. You can do this within two years of your arrival in the United States of America. Also, if your relatives intend to obtain refugee status in the United States, you can testify about your parents, spouse, children in order to facilitate the procedure for obtaining their right to reside in the United States.
In the US, a representative of a public organization, called a case worker, will work with you. He will work to adapt you to the United States, give directions to the necessary organizations and will solve all the problems that you may face within 30 days. As a rule, refugees receive assistance in the amount of $ 400 per person, and are eligible for cash assistance within 8 months. Food stamps, medical insurance, and free English language courses are also given (provided to everyone, including illegal immigrants). Sometimes there is assistance with renting a house and getting a loan. After 30 days, the case worker must make sure that the family receives a package of social assistance from the state, and the disabled and elderly members of the family receive or are retired.
The person who is engaged in your adaptation, also checks that the living conditions are in accordance with the norms, and the house has all the necessary furniture. Your assistant must make sure that all minor children are registered in the relevant schools, and adults ” for English language courses. Also you and your family members need to undergo a medical examination in a refugee clinic, take an X-ray, have a check for tuberculosis, and choose a family doctor.
Obtaining refugee status in the United States implies that you can get the right to work. When you arrive in the United States, at the border you will receive Form I-94 containing information that you have entered as a refugee. Also, you will be given Form I-765, which will need to be filled in order to get a work permit (EAD). While waiting for your EAD, you can present Form I-94 to your potential employer as proof of your legal residence and work permit in the United States of America.
In the refugee status one can live as long as you like. However, after a year of staying in the country as a refugee, you can get the status of a permanent resident of the United States (permanent resident), if during that time you did not allow violations of US law, and the immigration service did not receive information about you indicating that refugee status was granted To you by mistake, or you have specified incorrect information when filling out the forms. To obtain the right to permanent residence, you must fill out Form I-485. There is no need to pay any money to get permanent resident status. In addition, refugees are exempted from payment of fees when handing fingerprints. You as a refugee have the right to leave the territory of the United States if you want to travel.
In this case, you will need to obtain a refugee document giving you the right to leave and return. Otherwise, you will not be able to return to the US in the same status. If you decide to return to the country that you left after you received refugee status (eg, Belarus or Russia), you will have to explain how you were able to return safely.
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