Refugee Admissions Program for Near East and South Asia

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Washington, DC
May 23, 2014


Since 1975, more than 360,000 refugees from the Near East and South Asia have been resettled in the United States. Most have been from Iraq (more than 110,000), Iran (more than 90,000), Bhutan (more than 75,000), or Afghanistan (more than 26,000). Currently, among the refugees in the region, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refers mainly Iraqi, Bhutanese, and Iranian refugees for U.S. resettlement consideration. These refugees are often members of religious and ethnic minorities or vulnerable women at risk who have sought temporary asylum in countries in the region. In FY 2013, 32,400 refugees from 16 countries in the Near East/South Asia region were admitted to the United States, including 19,488 Iraqis, 9,134 Bhutanese, and 2,578 Iranians.

A Regional Refugee Coordinator posted to U.S. Embassy Amman coordinates admissions from the Near East, while a Refugee Coordinator posted to U.S. Embassy Baghdad covers in-country processing of Iraqis and UNHCR referrals of other nationalities inside Iraq. A Regional Refugee Coordinator posted to Embassy Vienna covers processing of Iranian religious minorities in Austria as well as processing in Turkey, Lebanon, Kuwait, Yemen, and UAE. PRM has established three Resettlement Support Centers (RSCs) to coordinate refugee case preparation, post-adjudication processing, and cultural orientation in the Near East region and for Iranians in Austria. The RSCs are located in Amman (with sub-offices in Cairo and Damascus and a mobile office that provides rotating coverage to Baghdad); in Istanbul (with a sub-office in Beirut); and in Vienna.

A Regional Refugee Coordinator posted to U.S. Embassy Kathmandu coordinates admissions from South Asia. An RSC in Nepal handles processing in South Asia. 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 2014 Admissions Program

The regional refugee admissions ceiling for the Near East and South Asia for FY 2014 is 33,000 and focuses primarily on Iraqis, Bhutanese, and Iranian religious minorities.