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Political Asylum and the United States Refugee Program

Political Asylum:

The United States does not grant asylum in its diplomatic premises abroad. Under U.S. law, the United States grants asylum only to aliens who are physically present in the United States.

U.S. Refugee Program:

To be eligible for consideration under the U.S. Refugee program, an applicant must meet the definition of a refugee: a person outside of his/her country of nationality or outside his/her habitual residence, who is unwilling or unable to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. In addition, he or she must be able to establish that he or she is not already firmly resettled in a foreign country and must fall within certain refugee processing priorities.

Refugee Processing:

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is administered by Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and requires an in-person interview with an officer from the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Applicants for admission to the United States under the program are processed  through partner organizations in various locations. There is no refugee processing at the US Embassy in Damascus.

For more information on the USRAP please visit the PRM website: 

Please note that most applications to the USRAP are initially referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in a country of asylum.    However, the United States government cannot take responsibility for the movement of applicants, can offer no assistance to applicants seeking necessary permission or visas to effect such movement, and can offer no guarantee to another country that the applicant entering that country will be accepted for entry into the United States as a refugee.


  • Effective February 6, 2012, the U.S. Embassy suspended operations and closed for normal consular services.  Visas to the United States cannot be issued in Damascus.