The United States Refugee Admissions Program

Step 5

Travel

At this point, the RSC will coordinate with the International Organization for Migration, or IOM, to schedule your flight to the United States. As an approved refugee, you are eligible to receive an interest free travel loan to cover the cost of your airfare and you must sign a Promissory Note in which you promise to repay the travel loan within three and a half years after arrival in the United States.

You should wait until your travel details are confirmed by IOM before selling your belongings, leaving your job, or leaving your home.

Regarding travel arrangements, you will receive the following assistance:

  • Obtaining travel documents including exit permits, whenever possible, and transit and entry visas
  • Pre-departure orientation:

In addition to the travel-related information provided in your Cultural Orientation training, you will receive additional information regarding flight schedules, airline regulations, customs requirements, and the specific assistance you should expect to receive in transit and when you arrive in the United States.

  • Transportation to and assistance at embarkation airports:

You will be assisted with flight check-in, as well as customs and immigration formalities at the airport.

  • Operational or medical escorts:

Passengers requiring special assistance during travel will be assisted as needed.

  • Assistance in transit:

You will be helped with direction to connecting flights, any necessary booking adjustments, and meals and accommodation as needed during transit, by IOM or an IOM contracted service provider.

  • Arrival assistance:

You will be met at your port of entry in the United States by IOM staff and assisted with entry formalities including onward connecting flights. At your final destination in the United States, you will be met by a representative of your Resettlement Agency.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

When do I have to start paying back the cost of the ticket? How do I do this?

Prior to departure, you will sign a Promissory Note to promise to repay the cost of airfare for everyone on your case. After arriving in the United States, you will have 42 months to repay this interest-free loan. Repayment of the loan generally begins within six months after arrival. You should repay the loan in monthly payments set forth in the loan note. The monthly payments should be sent to the Resettlement Agency designated on the Promissory Note. The Resettlement Agency then reimburses IOM to make funds available for others seeking resettlement. Repaying the travel loan promptly contributes to sustaining the travel loan program and will help you to establish a good credit rating in the United States. If you have any problems paying your loan you should talk to your Resettlement Agency; in certain circumstances the loan payment amount can be reduced or the repayment terms extended. It is important that you communicate with your Resettlement Agency about your Promissory Note upon arrival.

How much luggage may I bring?

Prior to departure, IOM will also provide information on baggage restrictions and items that may not be transported to the United States. Please note that baggage allowances are very strict and IOM cannot pay or otherwise take responsibility for excess baggage. If you have excess baggage, you may be required to dispose of many personal items at the airport in order to meet your baggage allowance.

In general, checked baggage is usually limited to two pieces of 23 kg or 50 lb each per ticketed passenger (with the exception of infants, who are not entitled to checked baggage). In some cases, checked baggage is limited by particular carriers to one piece only. Hand luggage or carry-on luggage is usually restricted to one piece per passenger. Traditional hand luggage or carry-ons, as well as other items such as laptop cases, musical instruments, and other similar items, are considered one piece of hand luggage.

IOM will ensure that you receive detailed information about the baggage allowances applicable to your travel to the United States prior to your departure.

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