What is Resettlement?

Resettlement involves the selection and transfer of refugees from the State in which they have sought asylum to a third State which has agreed to admit them – as refugees but with permanent residence status.

Resettlement is not a right. Resettlement consideration is based on protection needs and done on an on-going basis as part of UNHCR’s everyday work.  Refugees are not considered on the basis of how long they have been in Kenya.

Do I have to pay money to be considered for resettlement?

  • Refugees should not pay anyone for resettlement consideration, for the submission of a case, or at any step in the process.
  • All services provided by UNHCR, the government, and implementing partners in the camp are free of charge.
  • Please notify UNHCR immediately if anyone demands money for any resettlement services.

Who May be considered for resettlement?

  • UNHCR identifies refugees for resettlement on an on-going basis.
  • Only persons who have been recognized and registered as refugees by the Kenyan authorities and UNHCR may be considered for resettlement.
  • While assessing an individual case, voluntary repatriation and local integration prospects will also be taken into account.

Resettlement consideration is regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, marital status, education level, social status, religion, or nationality.

What happens when UNHCR submits a case to a resettlement country?

If UNHCR determines that a case should be resettled, it is submitted to a resettlement country for its consideration.

The resettlement country makes the final decision concerning the resettlement of a refugee and not UNHCR. Each resettlement country has its own regulations and procedures for the resettlement of refugees and therefore reserves the right to accept or reject a refugee.

Step 1: The refugee’s case is submitted to the most suitable resettlement country as determined by UNHCR.

Step 2: The authorities of the resettlement country will conduct their own interview(s). these authorities will make their own assessment for the case.

Step 3: A final decision is issued to the refugee by the resettlement country.

Step 4: If approved by the resettlement country, each family member will undergo medical screening and security clearances. Medical examinations will be arranged by IOM.

Step 5: A cultural orientation is arranged by the resettlement country and IOM.

Step 6: Travel arrangements are made by IOM upon receiving notice from the resettlement country.

Step 7: Reception and integration in the resettlement country.

The entire resettlement process is complex and takes a long time. Different cases are also processed at different timelines depending on many factors. Refugees whose cases have been submitted for resettlement should be patient while the case is being processed. It may be one to two years, or sometimes longer, for a final decision and departure to the resettlement country.



All UNHCR resettlement files are kept strictly confidential. UNHCR requests that all refugees whose cases are considered for resettlement sign a declaration authorizing UNHCR to share all information and any documents pertaining to them and their family members with government officials from the resettlement country.

Frequently asked questions.

  1. Can I enquire to Resettlement unit to request for updates on my case? You will be contacted by Resettlement unit if there is a need to complete follow-up interviews to resolve any pending issues. You can also visit the UNHCR Field Post and check the status of your resettlement case in KASI; Or Contact UNHCR by writing to [email protected]

2. How can I indicate my interest to be resettled and how would I know If I am eligible?

Resettlement places are extremely limited and UNHCR identifies families in need of resettlement following strict guidelines and standards of operating procedures. Resettlement identification in Kakuma is done through AIM (Application for Integrated Management) which is an electronic tool that selects cases based on different criteria. Selection of cases for resettlement can only be done by the AIM application. If you do become eligible for resettlement at a future date, you will be invited for an interview through SMS at the UNHCR compound. UNHCR does not receive declaration of interests for resettlement.

4. If my case has been processed and submitted to Resettlement country, whom do I contact?

You may contact the resettlement country directly using the contact information provided to you during the interview.

For US submissions, you may check your case status online at or write an email to: [email protected] or send a letter to P.O. Box 14176-00800, Nairobi, Kenya.

5. After my RST interview, how long will it take for my case to move to the resettlement country?

Resettlement can be a lengthy process and refugees should be prepared to be patient throughout the process. Prioritization of any case is determined in adherence to strict guidelines and standards of operating procedures. There is no guarantee that all refugees interviewed by the office will be submitted for resettlement.  You will be contacted by UNHCR or resettlement country when there is an update on your case.

6. During RST interview, can I ask which country my case will be submitted?

Yes, you can. UNHCR considers the desires of your family and the criteria of the different resettlement countries. This information will assist UNHCR in choosing an appropriate resettlement country for your family.

7. Can I request for resettlement to my country of choice?

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.

8. Why is my resettlement process taking so long?

Resettlement is a time-consuming 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 family has completed resettlement interview with UNHCR to the time they actually leave Kenya. Issues such as birth, marriage, pregnancy, divorce and custody, registration, deaths have to be properly assessed and resolved before resettlement can happen.

9. I was informed at the FP counselling that my case is on-hold. How can I get more information?

Most resettlement cases are placed on hold at some stage of resettlement processing. Some cases are placed on a short-term hold while some for a longer period of time. This is a normal process. A hold to your case does not automatically mean that there is a problem with your case or that you will not go on resettlement. It simply means that UNHCR is working on your case. Resettlement cases are only placed on hold by UNHCR when it is important and necessary to do so. There are many different reasons for why this may happen. Due to the need to protect confidentiality, UNHCR cannot always explain to each individual on a case why their case may be put on hold. This may be very frustrating. However, approaching UNHCR or asking about your case frequently will not change this and will not help your case to move faster. UNHCR will provide more information as soon as it is important and necessary.


10. Can I reject a Resettlement country chosen for me? What happens to my case after I reject the offer?

If you choose not to be considered for resettlement to a particular country, you risk being excluded from all future resettlement processing. If you decide to withdraw your case from the resettlement country who has interviewed and accepted your case, UNHCR will counsel you on the implications and consequences of the withdrawal. Please understand this is a risk because UNHCR may not be able to submit the case again to the country of your choice, and it will be the decision of the other resettlement country whether to accept the family for resettlement.

11. I have not been contacted by the resettlement country. When will they call me?

The processing times for resettlement remains long and unpredictable. These depends on the resettlement country’s guidelines, priorities and are outside the control of UNHCR.

12. I am in a polygamous marriage. Can my wives be resettled with me?

Polygamy is illegal in nearly all resettlement countries, and therefore refugees cannot be resettled if they are intending to continue a polygamous marriage. Each family will be counselled individually by UNHCR about their resettlement opportunities and the family will need to consider the best arrangements for the spouses and their children.

13. My spouse/children is in xx country and I would like to be reunited with them.

If you would like to explore other means of reuniting with your family member outside of the resettlement program, please inform your family member to approach the immigration office or non-governmental organization, where appropriate in the resettlement country for advice on how the process can be initiated.

14. I would like to know more about complementary pathways where can I find more information?

15. Can i be permanently disqualified from Resettlement Program?

Any refugee who attempts to commit fraud relating to his or her resettlement case may be permanently disqualified from any resettlement program facilitated by UNHCR. This includes:

  • Giving false information about your marital status, as well as conducting marriage with the purpose of resettlement.
  • Giving false information about any aspect of personal history, including your personal details, the reason for flight to or the period of asylum in Kenya.
  • Claiming a false identity or attempting to replace one person with another.
  • Not being precise and accurate about a relationship to someone on the case or a related case.
  • Attempting to add a person on a case who is not a genuine member of the family.
  • Hiding a family member or making a false claim of losing a family member wife/husband in the hope of qualifying for resettlement.
  • Presenting forged or fraudulent documents including birth, marriage, and death documents.
  • Charging money to refugees for resettlement services.
  • Making false claims or reports about fraud against staff or refugees.

16. Where can I report Fraud, Corruption and Exploitation by Officials?

You should report any fraud, corruption or exploitation by UNHCR and partners that you observe. We have robust procedures to prevent fraud and corruption and to investigate and take action against fraudulent and corrupt persons.  If you wish to report improper conduct (including corruption, fraud, bribery, exploitation, extortion etc) by UNHCR or other official, contact:

Email:  [email protected]


Fax:  +41 22 739 7380

Helpline: 1517 (toll-free) and inform the operator that you want to report a fraudulent activity.  Your call will be referred to a specialist staff member and treated in full confidence.

17. What is the impact of committing Fraud, Corruption and Exploitation?

Fraud, corruption and exploitation whether committed by UNHCR/partner officials or asylum seekers/refugees can have a significant impact on availability of services provided by UNHCR and partners and result in significant delays in finding appropriate solutions including in third countries.

See also

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