Resettlement involves the identification and transfer of refugees from a country in which they have sought protection to a third country which has agreed to admit them for permanent residence.

To help those who are accepted for resettlement integrate into their new communities, we work with partners to provide cultural orientation and language training and facilitate access to education, vocational training, and employment.

How are refugees identified for resettlement from Kenya?

Even if a refugee meets established criteria, resettlement is not guaranteed. Refugees are identified based on vulnerability and protection needs, and UNHCR aims to identify refugees who are most in need for resettlement. Importantly, resettlement countries have their own criteria for the refugees they accept and this too plays a part in the identification process.

What happens once a case is identified for resettlement?

Once a case is identified for possible resettlement the individuals undergo a Phase 1 verification interview followed by a Phase 2 resettlement interview. The Phase 1 interview is to ensure that the family composition is up to date and that there are no pending issues; if there are, case processing will be placed on hold until the pending issues are resolved. Once all issues have been resolved, the individuals and their eligible family members will be called for a Phase 2 interview. This is the final resettlement interview with UNHCR. Once this is completed and the case has been prepared and reviewed, it is formally submitted by UNHCR to the resettlement country for processing. It is important to note that cases can be found not qualified at any point during the resettlement process, including during Phase 1 and Phase 2 interviews. If a case is found not qualified by UNHCR, the applicants will be called to the office and informed of the decision verbally and in writing.

What happens once a case is submitted for resettlement to a third country?

Depending on the country to which the case is submitted to, processing procedures and timelines vary. In general, refugees in the resettlement pipeline should expect to wait at least one year or more to leave Kenya.

Within this time, refugees being considered for resettlement will need to attend additional interviews with resettlement country officials, undergo security and background checks, and take a series of medical tests prior to departure. Specific details will be provided to the applicants either by UNHCR or directly by the resettlement country.

If a case is rejected at this stage in the process, the individuals will be notified and, depending on the country, they may have a possibility to appeal the rejection – though generally this is not possible.  If a case is accepted by the resettlement country and all medical and security checks are satisfactory, the individuals will be scheduled to depart to the resettlement country.

What happens when refugees arrive in the resettlement country?

Upon arrival in the resettlement country, refugees will be assisted either by an NGO or by a government agency tasked with meeting their immediate needs. Resettled refugees will be briefed on where to live, how to obtain documentation, how to find a job, where they can send their children to school, and other issues to facilitate their arrival and integration in the country of resettlement. The aim of the initial assistance is to help resettled refugees become self-reliant as soon as possible.

How can a refugee speak to UNHCR about his/her case and resettlement?

Refugees can request an appointment for counselling by calling 1517.

Refugees can also get a protection counselling appointment or obtain additional information from the UNHCR Help page at

Do refugees have to pay for resettlement?

All services provided by UNHCR, government and non-governmental organizations working with refugees in Kenya are FREE OF CHARGE. The only exception relates to refugees being resettled to the United States, who will be issued a loan to cover the costs of transportation that will eventually need to be repaid to the US Government.

People may tell you that you should pay to add a new baby or schedule appointments; this is not correct as these services are free of charge. Refugees must not pay anyone for any resettlement-related services, and people asking for money are engaging in fraud and corruption. Refugees should be aware of scams offering resettlement services for a fee – these are NOT official resettlement programmes and will not provide you with resettlement in a third country.

If you are unsure whether you have been approached by fraudulent actors, you can contact UNHCR to seek confirmation.

What should I do if I have been approached or asked to pay for services?

Please visit our page on reporting fraud.

What is UNHCR doing about fraud?

Any refugee who attempts to commit fraud relating to his or her resettlement application may be permanently disqualified from resettlement under UNHCR auspices. Examples of such fraud would include: supplying false information about their background; adding false information to make their case seem more serious; claiming a false identity or attempting to substitute themselves for another person; attempting to add a person onto their case who is not a genuine member of their family; charging money to other refugees for resettlement services. Anyone aware of fraud committed by another refugee, or of corruption committed by a staff member of UNHCR or other office or organization working in Nairobi and other areas, should report this to one of the following addresses:

• For fraud committed, or concerning refugees in Kenya email: [email protected] and/or UNHCR Representative: UNHCR Representation in Kenya, Lynwood Court Building, Waiyaki Way Service Road, Westlands, Nairobi, KENYA P.O. Box. 43801-00100. Tel. +254204232420, Fax: +254204232080.

• For allegations of fraud committed by UNHCR staff or partners: Head of Investigation Service Inspector General’s Office UNHCR 94, rue de Montbrillant 1202 Geneva Switzerland Telephone: +41 22 739 8844; Facsimile: +41 22 739 7380; Email: [email protected]; UNHCR website.

How can a refugee speak to UNHCR about his/her case and resettlement?

Resettlement counselling is held every Tuesday morning. Refugees requesting for an appointment for resettlement counselling are required to send ONE SMS only to this number: +254(0)704871054. The SMS should include the UNHCR Case Number and brief reason(s) [maximum 20 words] for the appointment. UNHCR staff will organize appointment schedules based on the incoming requests on a first-come basis and inform refugees of their counselling appointment date via SMS. Only those who have not approached the office for counselling over the last 2 months will be granted an appointment. Refugees are advised to arrive at the office by 7:30 am on the date of their appointment.