Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Refugee Process

Published July 8, 2016
  • Refugees are people living outside their home country who cannot return because of a well-founded fear of persecution. To seek asylum they must register with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and request third country resettlement.
  • Those who ask for asylum in the United States are referred to the U.S. State Department and undergo security and other clearance. If approved, their case is forwarded to approved resettlement agencies. The process typically takes 18 to 24 months.
  • Catholic Charities Atlanta receives refugees through the Office of Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  • Refugees receive Medicaid benefits for eight months but have to pay back travel costs within 42 months. Adults are work authorized upon arrival.
  • On average, 94 percent of refugee families resettled by Catholic Charities Atlanta become economically self-sufficient within six months of arrival in the United States.
  • Less than 1 percent of the world’s refugees are resettled into another country each year.