Refugee Services Toolkit

What is a refugee/asylee?

What it is a refugee/asylee?

Refugee
A refugee is someone who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and in unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.

-Article 1 of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees


Asylum-Seeker
Persons who have applied for asylum or refugee status, but who have not yet received a final decision on their application.

-The State of the World’s Refugees 2006: Human Displacement in the New Millennium by The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees


Individuals who meet the legal definition of refugee, but who apply for asylum status after they are already present in the U.S. or at a port of entry. Asylum applicants can have any (or no) immigration status when they apply. Asylum status can be granted by either a USCIS asylum officer or by an Immigration Judge with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Executive Office of Immigration Review.

- Section 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act