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.
Background Image: Heart & American Flag. Credit to Ivan Samkov, Pexels.com
Welcome Corps Phase 2 Has Started!
You can now NAME a refugee to sponsor! You can sponsor up to 10 people in a single family.
Welcome Corps To-Do List
1. Check Eligibility
Check the eligibility of the refugees you want to sponsor. Welcome Corps has a new Eligibility tool which can help you decide if the people you want to sponsor are eligible for the program. If any person is NOT eligible, DO NOT continue with the Welcome Corps application for that individual.
2. Make a Group of 5
You will need to have a group of 5 people that will help sponsor the refugee. EVERY person in this group must be:
- Over 18 years old
- A citizen or permanent resident of the United States, AND
- In the same geographical area, for example in or near the same city.
You will then need to create a nickname for your group.
3. Get a Training Certificate
At least 1 member of your group will need to complete the Welcome Corps training and get a certificate. We recommend you download, save, and print this certificate so that you can easily access it if needed.
4. Complete a Group Commitment Form
The group commitment form explains that you understand your responsibilities and promise to complete them. Please make sure EVERYONE fully understands their responsibilities before signing the form.
5. Complete Background Checks
EVERYONE in your group needs to complete a background check to determine if they are able to be a sponsor. To complete this, you will need your:
- Legal name
- Email address
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Length of time lived at your current address
This will cost $15 USD per person. If a prompt asks you for a “Good Deed Code” enter: WCORPS4
6. Prepare Your Funds $
You will need to prove that you have $2,425 USD in cash and in-kind contributions for EACH refugee. For example, if you are sponsoring a family of 4, this will be $9,700 USD.
You will need to create a separate bank account, and the nickname of this bank account needs to be the same name that you used for your group (see Step 2). Some banks may require you to use their online mobile app to give your account a nickname.
Before you complete the application, you will need to have at least 60% of the total money needed in this bank account. Again, if you are sponsoring a family of 4, you will need $5,820 USD in your bank account by the time you complete the application.
Creating a Welcome Corps Account
When you do this, make sure you have:
1. Biographical Information for ALL refugees you want to sponsor.
2. Information about WHY they left their country and WHY they cannot return.
The Welcome Corps application asks who the refugee fears. This includes some yes/no questions about why people left their country and why they cannot return. People also need to choose the category of persecution (race/ethnicity, political opinion, social group, etc.).
The answer for why the refugee fled must be 500 CHARACTERS, and the answer for why they cannot return must be 200 CHARACTERS. The refugee MUST be truthful when answering these questions, and these answers should be consistent with the information that the applicants will share or have shared with UNHCR.
3. RSC numbers
This number has two letters for the country they live in (ex: Malaysia is MY, Kenya is KE) plus 6 or 8 numbers. This is NOT the UNHCR number.
This is not required to complete the application, but if you have an RSC number, please enter it.
4. Pictures of Official Indentification (ID)
5. Passport Photos
Women in Hijabs
Women who wear hijabs must show some of the hair on their foreheads in the Passport Photos. Please see these examples for acceptable and unacceptable passport photos:
6. Account photo, such as a GoFundMe screenshot, or a bank statement.
You must upload a screenshot of your bank account or bank statement showing that you have at least 60% of the total funds needed for ALL the refugees you want to sponsor. The uploaded image must include:
- Sponsor Group Nickname (see Steps 2 and 6)
- Fund balance $
- Bank name
How long will Welcome Corps take?
We know many people are excited to bring their friends and family to the United States with Welcome Corps.
However, please note that Welcome Corps has said that it may take anywhere from 6 months to a few years for the entire process to be completed, and for the refugee you sponsor to be allowed to come to the U.S.
When you have to depend on your lawyer to help you navigate and understand your options, it is especially important to find someone trustworthy and competent.
Refugees coming to the United States must make several adjustments, and often have questions about green cards, citizenship, and work permits.
These three immigration mistakes could seriously hurt your chances of getting a green card, or lawfully immigrating to the United States.