Resettlement is the transfer from the first country that a refugee flees to (i.e. India), to another country which has screened the case and agreed to admit the individual/family and provide permanent residence (the Resettlement State).

Resettlement is a process which results in a permanent third country solution for refugees who have no option to integrate locally or return to their home country and have protection needs in the country where they stay.

Resettlement is available for refugees whose life, liberty, safety, health or fundamental human rights are at risk in the country where they sought refuge.

Resettlement is not a right and is not available to everyone granted refugee status. Places are limited and Resettlement States choose how many refugees to resettle.

You can provide UNHCR with updates on your circumstances through the UNHCR contact number 011 4353 0444 or email [email protected].

If your case enters the resettlement process, UNHCR will contact you.

If you are in the resettlement process and have not received any feedback in the last three months, you can contact UNHCR through:

UNHCR contact number: 011 4353 0444
Email: [email protected]

Alternatively, you can meet UNHCR staff at the UNHCR Registration Office in Vikaspuri on Wednesday between 9.30 AM and 4.00 PM.

UNHCR identifies refugees for resettlement in accordance with resettlement categories based on their protection needs. Resettlement States set the criteria which determine which refugees will be admitted to their country.

Refugees do not apply for resettlement. Cases are identified through the data and information that is shared with the office at the registration level, as well as information gathered by partners and during home visits.

Identification for resettlement is not linked to the date of registration with the office, nationality or any other profile.

UNHCR identifies refugees based on their protection needs and continuously reviews the situation of highly vulnerable families to assess whether they meet resettlement criteria.

1. I have heard about special programs set up by other countries to help Afghans who worked with or for them. Can UNHCR India help me access these programs?

Some countries have recently announced opportunities for Afghan nationals who have worked or been affiliated with those countries to apply for permission to travel to those countries. These programs are established by those countries and UNHCR does not refer people to the programs or process applications. 

There may be more programs that are now or soon to be available to support Afghan people in or outside of Afghanistan. UNHCR will try to keep up to date with announcements as we become aware of these State-sponsored programs. For more information on relocation programmes, please see Relocation Programmes – UNHCR Afghanistan and other websites set up by the particular state.  

2. How do I know if I have a resettlement case?

If your case is being considered by UNHCR for resettlement, you will be contacted by the resettlement unit and invited for an interview. After the interview, you will be contacted again by telephone and you will be informed whether your case has been transferred to a resettlement country, or not. If it is not transferred to a resettlement country and you are advised that you are not currently eligible for resettlement, this means that you no longer have an active resettlement case. 

3. UNHCR has contacted me and informed me that my file is not considered for resettlement?

UNHCR regularly counsels refugees on their resettlement case status. If you have received a call from UNHCR stating that your file is not considered for resettlement, this means you do not currently have an active resettlement case. 

This does not affect your situation in India regarding UNHCR’s protection or any assistance that you may be receiving from UNHCR. 

4. Who makes the final decision on my case for resettlement?

UNHCR identifies people who may be in need of resettlement and interviews them to collect the information that will be required by a resettlement country. However, the final decision whether or not to accept someone for resettlement as a refugee is made by government authorities in resettlement countries and not by UNHCR. Resettlement countries also apply specific criteria and policies which may prevent UNHCR from referring certain kinds of cases to them. If your case is not referred to a resettlement country, if you are advised that you are not currently eligible for resettlement, or if a resettlement country decides not to admit you as a refugee, then UNHCR will continue to provide assistance and protection in the country where you are currently registered for as long as UNHCR considers that you are in need of international protection. 

5. How long does it take between the resettlement interview and departure?

Resettlement is a process with many different steps. It may take months or more than a year, depending on the resettlement state and its procedures. Some resettlement countries undertake further interviews with refugees in the resettlement pipeline, and others do not. You will be required to undergo medical checks and receive further information from the resettlement country and IOM prior to departure. UNHCR will be in contact with you during the different stages of the resettlement process. 

UNHCR will contact you by telephone about each stage of the resettlement process. Therefore, it is very important you keep UNHCR updated in case you change your contact number.

6. What happens if your case is rejected for resettlement?

If your case is rejected by the resettlement country, you will be contacted by the resettlement country and/or UNHCR to inform you accordingly. 

If your resettlement case is rejected by the resettlement country, this does not affect your situation in India as a refugee under UNHCR’s protection. It also does not affect any assistance that you may be receiving from UNHCR. 

Only a small number of cases are re-submitted to another country. UNHCR will re-assess your case and decide if there is a possibility for your case to be re-submitted. You will be informed by UNHCR if your case is eligible to be resubmitted. 

7. Can I withdraw my application after it was submitted for resettlement?

You have the right to withdraw your resettlement case; however, it will not automatically be considered for re-submission to another country and may result in your resettlement case being deactivated. Resubmission also may not be an option if there are no resettlement countries available. 

8. If I am resettled can my family members join me afterwards?

It is very important that you declare your family members during the resettlement process so that they are mentioned in UNHCR’s records. There is no guarantee that your family members will be able to join you in the resettlement country, as this will depend upon the legislation and criteria of the country. Many countries limit their family reunification criteria to nuclear family members and have financial requirements before you can bring your family members. 

9. Will I be able to work in the resettlement country?

Yes. You will have the right to work in the resettlement country. Services and the levels of support provided vary between resettlement countries. However, generally, in the long term, resettled refugees will be expected to work in the resettlement country to support themselves and to allow for successful integration. 

10. Can I apply directly for resettlement through an Embassy?

Private visa procedures through Embassies are different than resettlement through UNHCR. If you applied directly with an Embassy for immigration or other migration opportunities, UNHCR will not likely have information on the status of your application. 

As indicated above, UNHCR identifies only the most vulnerable refugees for resettlement consideration through its own identification methods. You can, however, consult the immigration websites for the country you would like to make an application to see whether you qualify for immigration to that country and verify how to go about applying for immigration. 

11. Can I join my family members in a third country through family reunification procedures?

Resettlement countries decide who is admitted through family reunification immigration procedures, and the process for family reunification normally takes place through the relevant embassy. Priority for family reunification is normally given to the nuclear family members, such as spouses and minor children. However, depending on the circumstances of the case as well as the national legislation of the country in question the criteria and eligibility for family reunification might be different. 

If you have applied for family reunification at an embassy and are facing problems in the process you can approach UNHCR for assistance and information.

12. Is the resettlement process and/or UNHCR’s services free of charge?

Yes. All of UNHCR’s services are free of charge, if anyone requests any form of payment in return for services, this should be reported to UNHCR immediately. 

Anyone can contact the Inspector General Office (IGO) if they have concerns or information about possible misconduct or sexual exploitation or abuse by any UNHCR staff member or other persons working directly with UNHCR. Anyone can contact the IGO if they have a reason to believe that a staff member or other persons associated with UNHCR has not behaved correctly. Write an e-mail to: [email protected]. 

13. How can I contact UNHCR and share information about my case?

You may contact UNHCR through letters and UNHCR contact number 011 4353 0444. You can also visit the Help website for more information.