Under U.S. law, a refugee is a person who has fled his or her country of origin because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based upon race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or a membership in a particular social group.

This definition of a refugee does not include those people who have left their homes only to seek a more prosperous life. Such people are commonly referred to as “economic migrants,” and are not refugees. People fleeing civil wars and natural disasters also may be ineligible for refugee resettlement under U.S. law, although they may fall within the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

To apply for refugee status, you must be outside the U.S. If you are already in the U.S., you must apply for the U.S. asylum program.

See also…

Immigration Law