UNHCR’s role in the United States

The United States is a party to the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees and the United States government has the responsibility to process asylum claims and to decide whether somebody can be given legal protection in the United States.

Persons applying for asylum in the United States are subject to the United States national laws and asylum procedures that are in place. For more information, consult United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

In the United States, therefore:

  • UNHCR does not register refugees,
  • UNHCR does not examine asylum applications and,
  • UNHCR does not issue refugee documents. The United States government handles these responsibilities.

UNHCR’s role in the United States focuses on working with the Government, non-governmental and other organizations, volunteer networks and communities to ensure the protection of refugees and asylum seekers.