What is the Welcome Corps?

The Welcome Corps is a new service opportunity for Americans to welcome refugees who are seeking safety and refuge in the U.S.

This ground-breaking new program empowers everyday Americans to sponsor refugees from around the world.

Launched in January 2023 by the U.S. Department of State, the Welcome Corps is the boldest innovation in refugee resettlement in more than 40 years. The Welcome Corps taps into the compassion and commitment of our American communities to expand our national capacity to welcome more refugees to U.S. by engaging sponsors from across America.

Who does the Welcome Corps help?

Over 27 million people have been forced to flee their homelands and find refuge in neighboring countries due to war, political persecution, or natural disasters, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Fewer than 1% are given the opportunity to be permanently resettled to another country, where they can rebuild their lives. And families who've been approved for resettlement can wait years for the opportunity to resettle. Meanwhile, their lives remain in limbo.

This backlog is particularly large for people from countries with protracted crises, such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Myanmar (Burma), Venezuela, South Sudan, and Yemen.

The Welcome Corps opens up a new pathway for everyday Americans to bring these families to safety—and grow the capacity of our existing U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Refugees sponsored through the Welcome Corps meet the definition of refugee under U.S. law and arrive with refugee status, with a path to permanent residency.

How does the Welcome Corps work?

When joining the Welcome Corps, sponsors form a Private Sponsor Group (PSG) of five people. The PSG works together to:

  • Raise $2,375 per refugee (in-kind or monetary) to support the newcomer
  • Submit a detailed Welcome Plan
  • Complete background checks
  • Complete required training
  • Commit to supporting a newcomer financially for at least 3 months and with continued social support for 12 months

Once an application is accepted, the Welcome Corps team in partnership with the U.S. government matches the group with a refugee or family waiting to be resettled. (In a later phase of the project, sponsors will be able to identify a refugee whom they wish to sponsor.) The group is also assigned to a service organization to support them as they help newcomers settle into their new community.

Is the Welcome Corps a good choice for me?

The Welcome Corps is a great sponsorship option for you if:

  • You work well in groups and prefer structure and support to help guide your sponsorship experience.
  • You have established networks like a book club, church or other faith group, or community service organization through which you can form a group and fundraise.
  • You are comfortable being matched with someone to sponsor (the “naming phase” of the Welcome Corps begins later in 2023, for which sponsors can name specific refugees to sponsor).

Join the Welcome Corps!

Visit the program's website for more information on how to get started with the Welcome Corps.

Be a Welcomer

Discover how rewarding it can be to welcome newcomers into your community.