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Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations Directorate

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What does Refugee, Asylum and International Operations (RAIO) do.

We provide immigration, protection and humanitarian services for people who are:

  • Fleeing oppression, persecution or torture;
  • Facing urgent humanitarian situations; and,
  • Best served in our international offices, such as military members who are serving overseas and permanent residents who need replacement documents to return to the U.S. 

We protect national security, combat fraud, and prevent ineligible individuals from immigrating to the U.S. through careful screening, vigilant reviews and sound adjudications. 


Our global presence includes:

  • Offices in Washington, D.C., including headquarters components and the refugee corps;
  • Two domestic offices that adjudicate overseas applications not requiring interviews;

  • Twenty-five international offices;

  • Eight domestic asylum offices; and,

  • An office in Miami that provides resettlement and orientation benefits to Cuban and Haitian parolees. 

Our officers travel abroad to assist refugees and domestically to adjudicate asylum benefits. 


RAIO is made up of three divisions:

The Refugee Affairs Division provides resettlement benefits to people who are outside their countries and cannot or are unwilling to return to their homes because they fear serious harm.  

The Asylum Division manages the U.S. affirmative asylum process, which allows individuals who are already in the U.S. (or at a port of entry), to remain here because they have been persecuted or fear persecution.   The individual must not be in removal proceedings to apply under affirmative asylum procedures. 

The International Operations Division, with offices around the world, is the face of USCIS overseas.  These offices assist with adoptions, consider humanitarian parole requests, adjudicate petitions and applications, and issue travel documents.

RAIO Training Programs and Materials

Our success depends on a well-trained workforce.  With this goal in mind, Refugee, Asylum and International Operations (RAIO) has developed comprehensive training programs for its officer staff. The RAIO Directorate level training branch develops training materials and conducts training for all officers new to RAIO on topics that are common to all officers.  Most of the lesson plans used at the "RAIO Combined Training" are available to the public at this link:  RAIO Combined Training Lesson Plans.

In addition, each RAIO division has its own training section, responsible for job-specific training for their officers.  Most of the Asylum Division's training materials are available to the public.  Asylum Division Lesson Plans.

For more information on this please visit the USCIS page