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Understanding the refugee process

Refugees desiring to come to Florida need to understand the process that must be followed. First, the individual must have received a referral to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Once a referral has been received, the applicant will be interviewed by an immigration officer who will determine the applicant's eligibility for resettlement.

In addition to the individual, the applicant's petition may include the spouse, unmarried children under 21 years of age and, in some cases, other family members. Same-sex partners who are legally married may also be included. It may be possible for same-sex partners who are not legally married to have their cases cross-referenced in such a way that they can be interviewed together and resettled in the same geographic region of the U.S., if approved. An applicant is not required to pay any fee.

Once approved, a refugee will receive a medical exam and assistance in relocating to the U.S. Additional assistance is available once a refugee is in the U.S. Within two years of arriving, refugees may file a petition for family members to join them. Refugees may also apply to be reunited with close family members who are refugees living outside the U.S.

Refugees may begin working as soon as they arrive in the U.S. Documents are available for showing an employer that a refugee is authorized to work in the U.S. Within one year of arriving, refugees must apply for a green card in order to become a permanent resident. As immigration law is quite complex, anyone needing assistance with the refugee process or with asylum or deportation issues may want to speak with an attorney who has experience in that area.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services , "Refugees", September 09, 2014

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