The State Department, in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services, announced the launch of the Welcome Corps, a new program allowing Americans to privately sponsor refugees arriving through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

Key Points:

  • Welcome Corps will enable Americans to engage directly in refugee resettlement through private sponsorship, independent of and complementary to existing avenues for volunteering with resettlement agencies.
  • Individuals interested in sponsoring a refugee must form a private sponsor group of at least five members over age 18 who live in or near the same community.
  • Sponsors must raise at least $2,275 in cash and in-kind contributions per refugee. These resources are used to secure and furnish housing and provide for the individual’s basic needs during their first 90 days in the U.S., until they are able to find employment. More information is available in this FAQ.
  • Applicants should attend an information session and are expected to establish a committed sponsor group, complete a background check and training, create a welcome plan and begin fundraising as part of the application process.

Additional Information: Welcome Corps aims to mobilize 10,000 Americans as private sponsors for at least 5,000 refugees in its first year. The effort represents the first time the State Department will allow individuals, instead of nonprofit organizations, to facilitate community-level logistics for arriving refugees. Initially, private sponsors will be matched with refugees whose cases are already approved for resettlement under USRAP. Beginning midyear, private sponsors will be able to identify refugees to refer to the USRAP for resettlement and support the refugees they have identified. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the Welcome Corps will “build on the extraordinary response of the American people over the past year in welcoming our Afghan allies, Ukrainians displaced by war, Venezuelans, and others fleeing violence and oppression.”

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group. For additional information, please contact

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