Resettlement

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What is resettlement? 

Resettlement is a solution that involves the selection and transfer of refugees from a country of asylum to another country which has agreed to admit them – as refugees – with protection, assistance, and permanent residence status. This status provides a resettled refugee and his/her family or dependents with access to rights like those enjoyed by nationals. Resettlement also carries with it the opportunity to eventually become a naturalized citizen of the resettlement country. 

Resettlement is not a right, and a refugee cannot apply to be resettled. Resettlement countries offer a very limited number of spots each year, and few refugees meet the strict criteria for UNHCR submission to resettlement countries.

Being recognized as a refugee (recognition of refugee status) does not mean that you will be automatically referred for resettlement.

If your case is selected for resettlement consideration, UNHCR will contact you.

All humanitarian assistance is provided free of charge.

Resettlement Q&As

How do I apply for resettlement?

You cannot apply for resettlement. UNHCR identifies only the most vulnerable refugees for resettlement consideration. Each case is considered on its own merits and is not linked to the date of registration with UNHCR. Information provided at the time of registration is taken into consideration when assessing eligibility for resettlement. You can provide UNHCR with updates on your circumstances through letters, e-mails, UNHCR Helpline (80069999), or at your next renewal appointment.

Do I have a right to be considered for resettlement?

Resettlement is not a right. Only a minimal percentage among the most vulnerable refugees is considered for resettlement.

What criteria does UNHCR use to choose cases for resettlement?

Each case is considered on its own merits and is not linked to the date of registration with UNHCR. UNHCR identifies only the most vulnerable refugees for resettlement consideration through its identification methods.

Who makes the decision?

While UNHCR identifies refugees for resettlement consideration and interviews them to assess their eligibility for resettlement, the final decision to accept a refugee for resettlement rests with resettlement countries and not with UNHCR.

I received a call from UNHCR’s resettlement unit asking me if I wish to be resettled. I told them that I’m not willing to be resettled. Now I’ve changed my mind. How can I inform UNHCR about this?

If you wish to provide updated information on your interest in resettlement, please contact the UNHCR Helpline free of charge at 80069999.

When will I receive a reply regarding my submitted case?

If you have been informed by UNHCR that your case has been submitted to a resettlement country, you can expect to be contacted for an interview with the resettlement country selection mission, or a resettlement staff will call you to counsel you on the status of your case.

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

UNHCR regularly counsels refugees under resettlement consideration regarding their case status and resettlement application outcomes. 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. Please continue to keep UNHCR apprised of any changes to your situation through interviews with the registration department when you renew your certificate. This does not affect your situation in Iraq regarding UNHCR’s protection or any assistance that you may be receiving from UNHCR.

Can I change the country of resettlement?

During the resettlement interview, you were briefed on the resettlement procedure and had a chance to provide necessary details on your case. UNHCR has already considered all relevant factors before deciding to which resettlement country you will be submitted, including available quotas of resettlement countries and family links in the resettlement country. You have the right to withdraw your resettlement case. Please note that if you do so, your case will not automatically be considered for re-submission to another country and may result in your resettlement case being inactivated. Requests for re-submission are assessed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis depending on withdrawal reasons.

If I refused resettlement to a country, would I still be eligible to be submitted elsewhere?

During the evaluation of your case, UNHCR’s resettlement unit considers all relevant circumstances about the choice of resettlement country, including resettlement availability. If you are found eligible for resettlement to a specific country and you decline to continue with the resettlement procedure, your case will be closed for further processing. 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 inactivated.

My case was rejected by a resettlement country. When will my case be resubmitted?

Re-submission is not automatic and every case is assessed on a case-by-case basis. UNHCR will decide whether your case will be resubmitted according to UNHCR criteria and the available quotas of resettlement countries.

Can I apply directly for resettlement through an Embassy?

Private visa procedures through Embassies are different than resettlement. UNHCR is not involved in private visa procedures. Going directly to embassies to request resettlement as a refugee is futile. As indicated above, UNHCR identifies only the most vulnerable refugees for resettlement consideration through its own identification methods. You can, however, consult immigration websites for the country you would like to apply to, in order to see whether you qualify for immigration to that country and verify how to apply for immigration.

How do I know if I am being considered for resettlement?

UNHCR resettlement unit will directly contact you.

Should I stop working or studying when my case considered for resettlement?

No, you should continue with your normal activities as there is no guarantee that you will be resettled. Also, process itself can be lengthy. It can take many months or years before a final decision is taken by a resettlement country.

If I have been interviewed for resettlement, when should I follow-up on my case?

At the interview, UNHCR resettlement unit will provide you with a phone number to follow up on your case. If you do not receive any feedback within 6 months from the date of the interview, you should contact UNHCR.

What happens if my case is not accepted for resettlement submission by UNHCR?

UNHCR will inform you and issue you a denial letter.

Can I appeal in case of denial?

No. There is no appeal system for resettlement. Nevertheless, UNHCR resettlement will re-assess the case. This process does not imply that you will be resubmitted.

What happens if I have been interviewed for resettlement and there is a change in my family, such as marriage, birth or death?

You should immediately inform UNHCR of any change to family composition. Holding this information could compromise your case.