Frequently Asked Questions

Refugees are people who have been forced to flee their homelands due to persecution – harassment, threats, abduction, or torture, because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group such as LGBTQ+ persons, or political opinion.

An “asylum seeker” is anyone who has fled persecution in his/her home country and is seeking safe haven in a different country, but has not yet received any legal recognition or status. A “refugee” is a person who has been recognized in the new country as having fled due to persecution, and has been afforded some sort of legal protection, either by the new country’s government, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or both. In the United States, a “refugee” is someone who has been provided with legal status by the U.S. government overseas, and then brought to this country to reside permanently. An “asylee” is someone who came to the U.S. without official refugee status, (an “asylum seeker”) who has since been granted legal status by the U.S. government.

HIAS works on the ground, assisting refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons in the United States and more than 20 countries in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Learn more about where we work.

We were founded as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. As we expanded our mission to protect and assist refugees of all faiths and ethnicities, we realized our name no longer represented the organization. We are now known as HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees.

HIAS is committed to finding durable solutions for Jews who face persecution, discrimination, or violations of religious freedom and whose safety and security is at risk. For more information, click here.


HIAS is pleased to provide you with these documents if we can locate them. Click here for more information about records search requests.

Please contact to confirm a donation and request a letter for tax purposes.

The personal data we collect about you is stored on a secure, password-protected server. We use industry-standard encryption technologies with respect to the receipt and transfer of personal data you submit on our site and only authorized personnel have access to your information. Nevertheless, despite our best efforts, no transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure.

HIAS does not use any cookies that are permanently written to your computer’s hard drive or retained by HIAS or our vendors. does set “session-specific cookies” to help run its interactive online applications. Please see our privacy policy for more information.

If you provide your personal information on our website, we do collect it and if you opt in or sign up, we will use your information to communicate with you in the future. The website does place cookies on your computer. However, we do not sell or rent this information to third parties. Please see our privacy policy for more information.

If you would prefer that HIAS not share your name or mailing address with other charities, please send a request to

HIAS’ services are free. If someone tries to charge you for services claiming they represent HIAS, please report this to HIAS at our confidential email address: HIAS has a zero-tolerance policy on fraud and corruption.

Los servicios de HIAS son gratuitos. Si alguien intenta cobrarle por servicios afirmando que representa a HIAS, denuncie esto a HIAS por nuestra correo electrónico confidencial: HIAS tiene una política de cero tolerancia con respecto al fraude y a la corrupción.

Les services de HIAS sont gratuits. Si quelqu’un prétendant représenter HIAS essaie de vous charger des frais supposant pour des services, veuillez le signaler à HIAS par le biais de notre adresse e-mail confidentielle: HIAS applique une politique de tolérance zéro à l’égard de la fraude et de la corruption.

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