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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Refugee Admissions Program for Africa

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Washington, DC
January 9, 2013



Since 1975, more than 280,000 African refugees have been admitted to the United States for permanent resettlement. The largest groups have been Somali (more than 100,000) and Ethiopian (nearly 50,000), but also included are Sudanese, Liberians, Congolese, Eritreans, Rwandans, Sierra Leoneans, Burundians, and others. In recent years, the program has grown more diverse both in terms of nationalities admitted to the United States and processing locations. In FY 2012, 10,608 refugees from 26 African countries were admitted to the United States.

A Regional Refugee Coordinator posted to U.S. Embassy Nairobi oversees refugee admissions from sub-Saharan Africa. Most refugees considered for U.S. resettlement from Africa are referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). PRM has established a Resettlement Support Center (RSC) based in Nairobi to coordinate refugee case preparation, post-adjudication processing, and cultural orientation in sub-Saharan Africa. The Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS/USCIS) conducts regular refugee adjudication “circuit rides” throughout the region. Transportation to the United States is arranged by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

FY 2013 Admissions Program

The FY 2013 ceiling for refugee arrivals from Africa is 12,000. We expect to continue to admit significant numbers of Somalis in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and South Africa; as well as Congolese in Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, and South Africa; Eritreans in Ethiopia and Sudan, and smaller numbers of Sudanese, Burundians, Ethiopians, Central African Republicans, and other nationalities. We also anticipate some 1,000 African refugee admissions from Egypt and Tunisia – many of them refugees who initially fled Libya in 2011.


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