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Vetting Refugees

Vetting Prior to Entering the United States

The US vetting of refugees is the most rigorous screening in the world. It often takes several years to complete; the safety and security of the American people is always the top priority.

A refugee and his/her family must first decide that they wish to permanently resettle and integrate into a new country and culture. The majority of refugees do not choose to resettle, waiting instead to return home when conditions improve. Once that major decision is firmly made, refugees can apply to the United Nations which in turn works with the US and other nations to select and assign them to a new homeland.

When a refugee family is assigned to the US, the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State and the Department of Defense investigate the family.  Individuals are fingerprinted and their identities verified. They are subject to numerous background checks, including checking for prior political or criminal activity. More details at www. screening.

Before coming to the US refugees participate in Cultural Orientation. Medical exams are conducted to make sure they carry no communicable diseases and to determine what level of US healthcare they will need.

The men, women, and children invited to become Americans are expected to pay for their airfare to the US; they often have to borrow from family or take loans for their travel.  Once they arrive they are legal entrants, fully documented, with many skills; however they often they lack knowledge of English and have little money.

All refugees appreciate the things we often take for granted: Freedom, Security, Opportunities.

For more information and statistics on refugee admissions to the United States, visit Or go to our Learn More page under Refugee Crisis.