Resettlement is an international protection tool for refugees who are particularly vulnerable and cannot return to their countries of origin or remain in their countries of asylum due to ongoing conflict, fear of persecution or the lack of local integration.

Resettlement, humanitarian admissions and relocations help secure the fundamental rights to life, freedom, safety or health. Beneficiaries may include survivors of torture and/or violence, unaccompanied migrant children (UMC) or those with medical needs. 

They are an important instrument of responsibility-sharing at international level and solidarity with the major countries of first asylum.

IOM’s assistance includes facilitation of selection missions, processing of travel documents and visas, and conducting pre-departure orientation training sessions about the destination country. Additionally, IOM provides movement and travel assistance of beneficiaries from their country of first asylum to their destination country.

A strong focus of IOM’s work lays on medical needs and public health concerns. IOM provides pre-migration health activities (PMHA) ensuring that beneficiaries are healthy, fit to travel and provided with the medical assistance they need prior to departure.

In Germany, IOM cooperates with the government, UNHCR, non-governmental organizations and other partners to enable solutions for refugees and migrants, providing specific services along the Resettlement continuum and Humanitarian Admission Programmes. These IOM activities are funded by the Ministry of Interior and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) as well as certain federal states.


Resettlement to Germany

Resettlement enables particularly vulnerable refugees to safely and legally leave a first country of asylum to enter a third country prepared to admit them. The Resettlement process is aimed at individuals recognized as refugees by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). UNHCR identifies the most vulnerable refugees for Resettlement consideration. Resettlement is not a right and cannot be requested or applied for. Resettlement is not a replacement for regular asylum procedures but rather a supplementary tool for the protection of particularly vulnerable refugees. Resettlement programmes are run by the government of Germany.

Humanitarian Admission to Germany

Humanitarian Admission Programmes are an important protection mechanism for particularly vulnerable migrants. Germany or the federal states decide to admit specific groups of refugees who cannot return to their countries of origin and cannot remain in the country they fled to, due to ongoing conflict, fear of persecution or the lack of local integration. The programmes can also apply to members of a particular social group in their country of origin in situations of war and acute crisis. They are intended to enable assisted admissions of larger groups of refugees or people in need of protection who mostly belong to a specific nationality or group. In Germany, both the federal government and the federal states make use of these admission types.


Relocation involves the transfer of people in need of protection from one member state of the European Union to another EU member state for the purpose of processing their application of international protection. The basis for relocation programmes are the joint decisions of EU member states. Relocation is a solidarity mechanism, as it aims to relieve pressure on individual member states, particularly those located on the external borders of the EU.

Resettlement from Germany to the USA and Canada

The Resettlement of refugees from Germany to the USA (USRAP) includes cases that are identified and referred to the programme by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), a United States Embassy, or a designated non-governmental organization (NGO). The programme is adressing groups of special humanitarian concern to the US, cases of family reunification from Germany to the United States, or U.S. citizens who previously had refugee or asylum status before obtaining U.S. citizenship.

The USA’s Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) programme is targeted at Afghan and Iraqi nationals who are currently residing in Germany and were employed by or on behalf of the United States government in Afghanistan, and who are experiencing an ongoing serious threat as a consequence of their employment.

Canada’s Immigration Loans Programme (ILP) provides financial help to refugees in third countries who have been selected for resettlement in Canada. The loans are used to cover the costs of transportation to Canada, and additional settlement costs if needed once in Canada.


IOM Germany does not provide in-person counselling in Germany for Resettlement, the U.S. Refugee Admission Programme (incl. Lautenberg Programme) or Humanitarian Admission Programmes. If you need information regarding our work and the various programmes, please contact us via mail at .

All IOM services are free of charge to beneficiaries. To report suspected fraudulent activity, follow this link:

Note: Resettlement is not a right, and there is no obligation on states to accept refugees or stateless people for Resettlement or Humanitarian Admissions.