Refugees are defined under international law as being outside their home country and having a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Refugees are legal immigrants to the U.S.


Refugee 101To learn more about refugees, click here for a self guided, online Refugee 101 course made by CityWide Tucson.

Arrivals Report – See how many refugees have arrived in Arizona and where they were from by viewing the Arrivals Report here.

What is the difference between a refugee, asylee, SIV and immigrant?

  • Refugee: Any person outside his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution.
  • Asylee: A person who seeks permission to stay in another country.
  • SIV: Available to persons who worked with U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Immigrant: A person who comes to a country to permanently settle from another country.
A visual representation of a refugee’s journey

How Refugees Get to the U.S. –  Refugee Status Determination, or RSD, is the legal or administrative process by which governments or UNHCR determine whether a person seeking international protection is considered a refugee under international, regional or national law. RSD is often a vital process in helping refugees realize their rights under international law. If you are approved as a refugee, you will receive a medical exam, a cultural orientation, help with your travel plans, and a loan for your travel to the United States. After you arrive, you will be eligible for medical and cash assistance. For more information on benefits available to refugees, please see the Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement page.

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Eligibility for US ResettlementGuide covering the eligibility criteria, exclusion criteria, and benefits to receiving refugee status by CitizenPath.

Cultural Orientations to Life in The USRefugees are provided a cultural orientation to their new lives in the United States. These orientations are part of a mandatory package of services for refugees categorized as “Reception and Placement.” To access comprehensive information and resources about cultural orientations and services, visit the Cultural Orientation Resource Center website.

  • Reports about Refugee Resettlement

    Arizona Refugee Arrivals Report – Updated 01/15/2021  This report shows the numbers of refugees from all countries who have resettled in Arizona since the beginning of the resettlement program. The most common countries refugees in Arizona come from today include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Iraq, and Burundi.

    UNHCR Global Trends Forced Displacement in 2019 – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report on Displaced People for 2019 is a summary report that includes data of where people were displaced from and where they migrated to.

  • Presidential Executive Orders Regarding Refugees

    Proposed Emergency Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2021 – Released February 22, 2021, click here to read the new Presidential Determination for Refugee Admissions.

    Executive Order on Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs to Resettle Refugees and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration – You can see the full Executive Order here. The U.S Committee for Refugees and Immigrants released a helpful summary of the executive order which you can see here.