What is Resettlement?

Resettlement is a process which results in a permanent third-country solution for refugees who are unable to integrate locally or return to their home country and have ongoing protection needs in the country where they are living.

Resettlement involves the selection and travel of refugees from the country where they have fled and sought protection (for example, Jordan) to another country which has screened the case and agreed to admit the individual/family and provide permanent residence.

Resettlement opportunities are extremely limited, and only a tiny percentage (less than 1%) of refugees are ever considered for resettlement. Resettlement is only available for refugees whose life, liberty, safety, health, or fundamental human rights are at risk in the country where they sought refuge.

Do I have a right to be considered for resettlement?

No, unlike protection, resettlement is not a right. Resettlement is a solution that is only available in very specific circumstances and to a very small number of refugees. Resettlement is not a right embodied in international law. There is no obligation on countries to accept refugees for resettlement.

Not all refugees will be considered for resettlement automatically and the recognition of refugee status does not mean that a refugee has a case for resettlement.

Can I apply for resettlement?

No. Resettlement through UNHCR is not initiated by an individual refugee application. UNHCR is unable to consider petitions (letters, e-mail, faxes, etc.) or phone calls from refugees requesting resettlement. You should not assume that you have a resettlement case unless you are advised by UNHCR’s resettlement unit. You are also able to check whether you have a resettlement case by calling UNHCR’s Helpline and selecting the resettlement option.

There is no need to approach the office individually or send letters, faxes or emails. It is, however, very important to keep your contact details updated with UNHCR, so that the office can arrange an appointment with you whenever required. To find out how you can update your contact details through the Interactive Voice Response, please click here.

How are refugees identified for resettlement?

UNHCR identifies refugees for resettlement in accordance with resettlement categories based on their protection needs. Identification for resettlement is not linked to the date of arrival to Jordan or registration with UNHCR, 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. Cases are identified through the data and information that is shared with the office at registration (or renewal) level, as well as information gathered by partners and during home visits.

The identification of a refugee as being particularly vulnerable does not necessarily mean that the refugee is either eligible for or in need of resettlement. Resettlement is a limited option at the disposal of UNHCR to address a refugee’s vulnerability. While assessing an individual case, voluntary repatriation and local integration prospects will also be taken into account.

Why is UNHCR not offering more resettlement slots?

Each year, resettlement countries decide how they will allocate resettlement places among the millions of refugees throughout the world. Resettlement countries set the criteria which determine which, and how many, refugees will be admitted to their country. Places are limited and resettlement countries decide how many refugees they will resettle, not UNHCR.

Since resettlement places are very limited, UNHCR must prioritize the cases of refugees who have the most urgent protection needs and vulnerabilities.

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 referred to a resettlement country.

If UNHCR is unable to refer your case to a resettlement country, you will be informed that that you are not currently eligible for resettlement, this means that you no longer have an active resettlement case.

Some refugees believe that they have been identified for resettlement in the past and may have received communication several years ago related to resettlement but have not had any interviews. Most often, these refugees do not have active cases. You are also able to check whether you have a resettlement case by calling the UNHCR Helpline and selecting the resettlement option. To find out how to navigate the Helpline Interactive Voice Response, please click here.

The UNHCR Helpline is built to provide automated information to inform refugees if they have a resettlement case, or the status of their case. You cannot apply directly for resettlement through the Helpline or any other mechanisms.

How can I check the status of my resettlement case through UNHCR Helpline?

UNHCR Helpline can assist you in knowing if you have an active resettlement case and where that case may stand. If you do not currently have a resettlement case, the Helpline will inform you accordingly. You cannot apply directly for resettlement through the Helpline or other mechanisms.

If you have an active resettlement case, you will listen to an automated message related to the status of your file. If your case requires additional counselling from UNHCR staff or follow-up, the Helpline system will send a referral to the concerned unit or the call might be transferred to an agent. If your case is in process and does not require follow-up or counselling, your call will end after you receive your automated status update.

You can access resettlement menu by calling the UNHCR Helpline as follows:

  1. Dial 064008000
  2. Choose your language: for English, press 1. For Somali, press 2. For Arabic, wait 5 seconds.

A general message will be played.

  1. Select option number 1 if you are registered with UNHCR and have file number.
  2. Then select option number 2 from the main menu: General Services Provided by UNHCR.
  3. Afterwards, select Resettlement
  4. You will be asked to enter your individual number, enter the individual number as it appears on the Asylum Seeker Certificate without any character.
  5. The enter your birth year composed of 4 digits.

Listen to the automated message related to the current status of your file.  

I have a new/urgent issue. How can I notify UNHCR so that my case can be considered for resettlement?

Should you wish to update your file to share new or urgent protection, health, or other concerns, please report to UNHCR through the relevant service area of the Helpline (064008000) or at your next renewal appointment.

Protection and health concerns will be addressed by the respective unit and will only be referred for resettlement consideration if your situation meets resettlement criteria. You should not assume that your case is being processed for resettlement unless you are contacted by the resettlement team.

Can I apply for resettlement directly 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.

My relatives are living in a resettlement country. How can I join them?

Family reunification programmes and eligibility criteria are set and managed by the individual countries. Applications to access these programmes are not submitted through UNHCR, but through the procedure established by that specific country. However, depending on the national legislation of the third country, the criteria and eligibility for refugees to qualify for family reunification might be different.

Priority for family reunification is normally given to the nuclear family members, such as spouses and children under 18. Often, parents, adult non-dependent children, adult siblings, grandparents, and other relatives are not eligible for third-country family reunification unless there are exceptional circumstances.

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.

UNHCR has contacted me and informed me that my file is not considered for resettlement. What does this mean?

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 Jordan regarding UNHCR’s protection or any assistance that you may be receiving from UNHCR and its partners.

I completed interviews with UNHCR, but the Helpline tells me I do not have an active resettlement case. Why is this?

The Interactive Voice Response message that you are given through the system is the most up to date information we have on your case. If you are informed that you do not have an active resettlement case through the Helpline, please understand that UNHCR is not currently considering your case for resettlement.

UNHCR can contact you for many different services. Sometimes refugees are unsure which UNHCR unit interviewed them. They may think they were interviewed for resettlement, but actually had another interview for a different service, like refugee status determination, child protection, or cash assistance. When interviewed by UNHCR, the staff member should always clarify the purpose of the interview, but you are encouraged to ask for additional details if you are unsure.

If your case was previously considered and determined to be not qualified for resettlement by UNHCR or rejected by the resettlement country, your resettlement case is no longer active. The Helpline Interactive Voice Response system will inform you that you do not have an active resettlement case.

If your case is rejected or not qualified, you will be contacted by UNHCR to inform you accordingly. If your resettlement case is rejected or not qualified for resettlement, this does not affect your situation in Jordan as a refugee under UNHCR’s protection. It also does not affect any assistance that you may be receiving from UNHCR and its partners.

A few years ago, I informed UNHCR that I did not want to be resettled. However, my circumstances have changed, and I am now interested in being considered for resettlement to another country. Can UNHCR reconsider my case?

In the past, refugees who were contacted by UNHCR and asked about their interest in resettlement may have informed UNHCR that they do not wish to be considered for resettlement due to their personal circumstances.

Refugees that have previously refused resettlement do not have active resettlement cases. You are unable to contact UNHCR and request that your case be reconsidered if you have changed your mind. Just because you were considered for resettlement in the past does not mean you would still qualify for resettlement.

Such a situation does not result in your case being permanently excluded for resettlement. Should you and your family be facing strong vulnerabilities or protection risks in Jordan, your case can be identified for resettlement again in the future. However, UNHCR can not guarantee that your case will be identified for consideration or that you will qualify for resettlement.

Should you wish to update your file to share new or urgent protection, health, or other concerns, please report to UNHCR through the relevant service area of the Helpline (064008000) or at your next renewal appointment.

I was told that if I paid money to someone, I would be resettled. Is this true?

UNHCR, and other partners and governments in the resettlement process, do not charge any money to refugee applicants for resettlement or any other process. All of UNHCR’s services are free of charge.

Should you be approached by any person or entity requesting money, personal information, documents, etc. for support in the resettlement process, please report this to UNHCR immediately. UNHCR will only communicate with refugees in the resettlement pipeline through UNHCR’s official phone number or through SMS with the tag ‘UNHCR’.

To report such an incident, you may call the UNHCR Helpline 064008000 or send an e-mail to [email protected]. Please click here to read more on how you can report fraud, exploitation or misconduct.

You can contact the Inspector General Office (IGO) if you 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]

What happens if I am identified for resettlement?

If your case is identified for resettlement consideration, you will be contacted by UNHCR and invited for an interview. If you are interviewed, there is no guarantee that you will be resettled.

After the interview, if your case is found eligible for resettlement and your case is referred to a resettlement country for consideration, you will receive an SMS from UNHCR on your mobile phone, informing you about the submission of your case, specifying the country.

UNHCR will contact you by phone about each stage of the resettlement process. Therefore, it is very important you keep UNHCR updated in case you change your contact number. You can update your contact number with UNHCR by calling the Helpline. To find out how to navigate the Helpline Interactive Voice Response, please click here.

Who makes the final decision on my case for resettlement?

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 states and not UNHCR.

How long does it take between the resettlement interview and departure? Why is my resettlement case taking so long?

Resettlement is a very long process for all the persons concerned and the processing time varies from country to country, due to different immigration laws, priorities and resources. It is very hard to predict how long it will take from the time a resettlement interview with UNHCR has been completed to the time of departure. Issues such as birth, marriage, pregnancy, divorce and custody, registration, and deaths have to be properly assessed and resolved before resettlement can happen.

It may take many months or several years, depending on the resettlement state and its procedures. Some resettlement countries may also undertake additional interviews to the initial one with refugees in the resettlement pipeline. 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, but it is important to be patient.

What other organizations are involved in my resettlement case and departure?

UNHCR is responsible for the identification, initial interview, and submission of your resettlement case. However, depending on the resettlement country, you may be contacted by different organizations and entities related to the resettlement process. These organizations often support with your processing, travel arrangements, medical checks, cultural orientation, appeals, etc. These organizations may include the International Organization for Migration (IOM), representatives from the resettlement country governments, social service agencies in the resettlement country, as well as legal service NGOs, etc.

It is important to understand that, like UNHCR, these other organizations’ services are completely free of charge. At no point in the resettlement process should any organization request money or favours from refugees in the resettlement pipeline. To report any such incident, you may call the UNHCR Helpline 064008000 or send an e-mail to [email protected]. Please click here to read more on how you can report fraud, exploitation or misconduct.

When can I approach UNHCR for a status update?

Due to the large number of cases that the resettlement unit handles, UNHCR may not be able to give feedback on your case on a regular basis. If approximately 6 months have lapsed since the last time you received feedback on your case, you can enquire on the status of your case through UNHCR Helpline.

For cases that have already been submitted to a resettlement country, some resettlement countries have channels for tracking case progress. In general, be patient, you will be contacted any time there is a new development in your case.

For cases submitted to the United States of America: the Resettlement Support Center (RSC), run by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) works for the Government of the United States of America and helps refugees to complete resettlement applications for consideration by United States officials. You can obtain programmatic announcements as well as an update on your case through the Resettlement Support Centre by visiting IOM’s website: https://www.jordan.iom.int/refinfo. Applicants in the US pipeline can also obtain updates by e-mailing [email protected]. You can also find frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the US Resettlement Programme here: IOM Jordan | RSCMENA Refugee Information Website | Frequently Asked Questions

I want to be resettled to a specific country.

Although UNHCR will take note of a refugee’s resettlement country preference, the final decision to which country a refugee is submitted remains with UNHCR. When making that decision, UNHCR takes into account any specific needs of refugees, as well as their family links.

If you choose not to be considered for resettlement to a particular country, you risk being deprioritized from further resettlement processing. If you decide to withdraw your case from the resettlement country which has interviewed and accepted your case, UNHCR will counsel you on the implications and consequences of the withdrawal.

Can I withdraw my application after it has been submitted?

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 deprioritized. Re-submission also may not be an option if there are no resettlement countries available.

What happens if my 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.

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 for resubmission.

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

If I am resettled, can my family members join me after?

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 later, 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 that must be met before you can sponsor your family members.

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

No. Even if your case is identified for resettlement, it will take a long time for the process to be completed. Due to limited quotas and specific requirements for these quotas, having a referral or an interview with a resettlement staff member does not guarantee a submission.

UNHCR encourages cases identified for resettlement to not take action to leave their homes, sell their belongings, stop working, or take their children out of school until they have been notified of a confirmed departure date.

Having a work permit, being employed, or enrolled in school, does not affect your resettlement case or the assistance you may be receiving from UNHCR or its partners. We strongly encourage you to obtain a work permit if you’re engaged in any employment. Please find more information on work permits for refugees in Jordan here.

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.

How can I update my resettlement file to inform the country of new information?

You can provide UNHCR with updates on your circumstances during interviews with UNHCR or by calling the UNHCR Helpline (064008000) to verify information regarding the status of your case. Should UNHCR require any additional information or documentation for your resettlement case, the resettlement team will reach out to you directly. Once again, it is very important to keep your contact information updated so the team can reach you if needed.

How can I check the status of my resettlement case through UNHCR Helpline?

Please click here to watch a video on how to check the status of your resettlement case through UNHCR Helpline.