Updates to SIV Resettlement Cities and Procedures

by No One Left Behind

     On June 8th, the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration announced changes to the Reception and Placement process for SIVs, effective immediately. The Reception and Placement (R&P) program is the program that assists SIVs for the first 90 days of their life in the US and covers services such as securing initial housing using funds commonly referred to as “welcome money,” and 3 months of job search assistance and ESL classes.
     When choosing a city to settle in the US, SIVs may now select one of 25 cities that have demonstrated success in SIV placement and integration.  These are cities that have available jobs and affordable housing for newcomers.  These cities are prepared to provide R&P services to new arrivals.  SIVs can still request to join friends or family in another area and receive R&P services, with the exception of the DC area.  NOLB supports these restrictions.  We strongly encourage SIVs to choose cities such as Rochester, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, Omaha, NE, and Denver, CO rather than more expensive cities like those in the Washington DC/Maryland/Virginia and the San Francisco Bay areas (Oakland, CA.)  Many Americans who have advanced degrees cannot afford housing in these areas and new arrivals should expect the first few years to be much more difficult if they go to such areas.
     To select a particular city from the list of 25 cities, you should write the selected city on the DS-0234 SIV Biodata form under section E, entitled comments.  The 25 cities are as follows:
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Detroit Metro Area (Including Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Troy), Michigan
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Durham, North Carolina
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Elizabeth, New Jersey
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Albany, New York
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Rochester, New York
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Austin, Texas
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • Houston, Texas
  • Salt Lake City, Utah


The bolded cities are locations where No One Left Behind has chapters and can provide assistance to new arrivals beyond the traditional refugee resettlement system.


Northern Virginia now has restrictions on new arrivals due to the high cost of living, lack of affordable housing, and lack of adequate employment opportunities to pay the high rental costs.  For context, an apartment in Alexandria, Virginia will average between $1,200 and $1,800 per month for rent alone.  This attached list of Virginia cities, Northern Virginia Placement Restriction Cities, is now restricted to SIVs who have a spouse, father, mother, sibling, child, or grandparent in the area.  SIVs who only have a friend, aunt/uncle, or cousin will not be permitted to come to Northern Virginia through IOM flights and will not be entitled to R&P services due to the high cost of living and high demand for assistance.


SIVs who choose to immigrate to the United States after purchasing their own flights (without IOM assistance) are still entitled to R&P assistance in most of the country.  However, new arrivals should expect a 3-6 week delay before they will receive “welcome money” or similar benefits.  As such, we discourage SIVs from coming to the United States without IOM if they do not have upwards of $5,000 to secure their own housing or if they do not have friends or family who will house them.  If a SIV comes to Northern Virginia without having a spouse, father, mother, sibling, child, or grandparent then you WILL NOT RECEIVE R&P services, welcome money, or housing assistance.  


For more information, please review the attached FAQ for SIV placement procedures 2017-12 Attachment B – New SIV Placement Process FAQs and details on the Northern Virginia placement restrictions Placement Restriction for Northern Virginia, as issued by the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

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