In January 2023, the United States government started a new Refugee Resettlement program called Welcome Corps. Welcome Corps is a private program that lets groups of 5 people resettle refugees. We know that many refugees already living in the U.S. are excited about Welcome Corps because they want to bring their family and friends to safety in the U.S.
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Welcome Corps Phase 1 & 2
Welcome Corps Phase 1
As of May 31, 2023 ONLY Phase 1 is in place. In Phase 1, groups sponsor refugees that they do not know. The government will match refugees with sponsor groups.
Sponsor groups will NOT be able to choose a refugee to sponsor in Phase 1. There are some charitable sponsorship groups participating in Phase 1, but again, the government will NOT allow anyone to sponsor specific refugees, such as friends or family members, until Phase 2 begins.
Welcome Corps Phase 2
In Phase 2, sponsors can choose their refugees. You can sponsor your family and friends who have already been approved for resettlement to the US through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).
Welcome Corps says that Phase 2 will start in mid-2023. If you want to sponsor your family and friends, please wait to do the application. Welcome Corps might change the application for Phase 2.
Do NOT do the application now if you want to sponsor specific family members or friends.
Watch out for Scams!
Do NOT listen to rumors
There are many rumors in different communities about the costs to do Welcome Corps. The online training is FREE and you do not pay any money to send in your application for Welcome Corps. All the forms you need for Welcome Corps are free for everyone online.
Dos and Don'ts of Welcome Corps
If you want to bring your family in Phase 2, DO NOT:
Prepare NOW for Welcome Corps Phase 2
We all have to wait for Phase 2 to start. Here are some activities that you can do to get ready while you wait:
1. Find your group of 5.
Each person must be over 18 years old and have a green card or be a U.S. Citizen. Each person must live in the same or nearby city. When you have your group of 5, decide who will be the leader or primary contact.
2. Wait to do your background check.
One person in your group of 5 must make an account with Welcome Corps and do the training on a computer, cell phone, or tablet.
This training is FREE. In the training, you must read or listen to information in English about your job as a sponsor and how to best help new refugees. You will answer questions about the information in the training by clicking buttons or typing sentences in English. You must answer the questions correctly before you can move on to a new part of the training.
Depending on your English and technology skills, this training will take 2-5 hours to complete. When finished, Welcome Corps will send an electronic copy of your certificate to your email.
Save this email because you will need to upload 1 training certificate when you send in your group’s application.
4. Create a budget.
Your group must have $2,375 USD for EACH refugee you sponsor. For example, if you are bringing over a family of 4, you will need a total of $9,500. This can be cash or in-kind donations. In-kind donations can be rent, furniture, clothing, transportation costs, etc.
When you send in your application, you must show that you have raised at least 60% of the total money needed. For example, for a family of 4, you need to show that you have at least $5,700. You can send a screenshot or picture of your bank account.
When the family of 4 arrives in the U.S., you need to show that you have ALL $9,500 or a budget showing that your in-kind donations equal $9,500. Start saving your money now.
5. Think about your Welcome Plan.
You will be the new refugees’ case manager. Part of your application will be a “Welcome Plan”. In the Welcome Plan, you will describe how your group will help the newly arrived refugees. This document might change for Phase 2, so you should not complete it now. However, we think that the required services will be very similar, so it is a good idea to think about how you will do them. They are:
6. Understand the Code of Conduct.
When you send in your application, each group member must agree to follow the Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct says what activities you can and cannot do as a sponsor. It is there to protect the new refugees from being hurt by their sponsors. Go over it with your group so everyone understands it.
7. Read the Group Commitment.
Each group member must sign a form to agree to follow the Code of Conduct and the Welcome Plan. It says that you will agree to send in reports when your family has been here for 30 and 90 days, as well as complete a survey 6 and 12 months after they arrive.
The group commitment states that your group will not be allowed to sponsor more refugees if you do not meet the responsibilities of being a sponsor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome Corps FAQ
Yes, sponsorship groups can sponsor more than one refugee family. This means that people in your group can sponsor their own family members or friends.
You will need to have the right amount of money, make a new Welcome Plan, and submit a different application for each refugee family your group sponsors. The same training certificate and signed group commitment can be used for each application your group sends in.
For Phase 1, Welcome Corps says that it will take 1 to 2 weeks to process each application and then it will be 1 to 2 months before refugees arrive.
We do not know how this will change when they open up the applications for Phase 2. It might take a longer time if many sponsor groups apply. If someone says that you can pay them money to make your application go faster, they are lying.