Refugee Help

Welcome

As a refugee in the United States, there is a lot you have to do as you settle into your new home. You must apply for your green card and get a state identification card or driver’s license. If there are mistakes on any of your documents, for example if your age is wrong on the paper, you need to correct it.

You will never need a work permit as a refugee. However, there is a time limit on your access to public benefits, and you should consider preparing yourself to apply for citizenship.

Refugee Help

Welcome

As a refugee in the United States, there is a lot you have to do as you settle into your new home. You must apply for your green card and get a state identification card or driver’s license. If there are mistakes on any of your documents, for example if your age is wrong on the paper, you need to correct it.

You will never need a work permit as a refugee. However, there is a time limit on your access to public benefits, and you should consider preparing yourself to apply for citizenship.

Integration and Education

Refugees and immigrants of all backgrounds can benefit from the free education and integration classes we offer. Catholic Charities Milwaukee can help you learn English, prepare for citizenship, understand American culture, and more. Learn More

Refugee Green Card

Refugees are not automatically given green cards; you must follow a unique set of rules to apply for one. The refugee green card application is free, but each family member will have to apply individually. Also, refugee travel documents are no longer free of charge. You will have to pay separately for each person. Learn More.

Citizenship

Becoming a citizen helps ensure that you can keep your public benefits, which are only available for limited amount of time for refugees. You can also apply for a U.S. passport, which means you won’t have to worry about getting a refugee travel document if you want to travel outside of the country. Learn More.

Petition for Family Member

If you would like to "call" your family member to the United States, you can petition on their behalf through the Priority System. If you are a United States citizen, you can petition under the Immediate Relative System. Learn More

DMV

To get a state identification card or driver's license, you will need to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your area. You need to bring certain documents with you, including proof of identity and proof of status. Learn More

Diversity Visa Lottery

If the waiting period for your loved one is really long in the family-based system, a quicker way to bring them to the United States might be through the Diversity Visa Lottery. But it is really important to understand that an immigrant visa alone is NOT a green card or lawful permanent residency. An immigrant visa is just the first step in getting a green card or lawful permanent residency. Learn More

Seek the Help of a Good Lawyer

We Can't Stress This Enough

These pages are intended to help you understand what you are looking for – not to help you complete any of these applications alone. Immigration law is detailed and complicated, and we urge you to rely on a well-trained lawyer for help. Find an immigration attorney who will give you an honest assessment of your case and guide you through the processes.

Additional Resources