What Types of Protection Can a U.S. Embassy or Consulate Provide?

Though safety is a primary concern for most individuals, it is not always possible during moments of political, social or religious unrest. Fortunately, the U.S. government provides protections to certain individuals who are considered in danger or threatened while living in a foreign country. To be qualified for these safeguards, you must meet a set of criteria related to the different types of protections offered by a U.S. embassy or consulate.


Individuals who are seeking protection for a specific, limited period of time may apply for temporary refuge. This type of U.S. protection is for those at risk of extreme physical danger. Such danger could include circumstances that could lead to death, critical injury or persecution. Temporary refuge is typically only afforded to those in the most life-threatening circumstances.

Those granted this type of protection may seek shelter inside a U.S. embassy or consulate during any point of the day. It is important to know that temporary refuge does not mean leaving a foreign country or coming to the United States.


Another type of protection that may be provided by a U.S. embassy or consulate is a referral to the U.S. Refugees Admissions Program. This program calls on other government agencies to review the individual’s files and to determine whether he or she may qualify as a refugee. Such decisions are typically referred to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), though the embassy or consulate may be the first point of contact.

Once a referral is complete, you may be considered as an applicant for refugee status. If you qualify as a refugee and wish to claim refugee status, you will be required to relocate to the United States for your protection. In some cases, financial support may be available in helping you leave your current country.


For individuals who are not eligible for the previous protections and cannot come to the United States in other ways, parole may be an option. Parole is commonly utilized in situations where a person’s health, family or security are at extreme risk. It may also be used in cases where national security is an issue. When parole is granted, an individual is allowed to enter into the United States and live within the country’s borders for a limited period of time.

Distinguishing the parameters of these protections and determining eligibility can be complex. If you would like to seek protection at a U.S. embassy or consulate, the first step is to work with an experienced attorney.

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