Before arriving in the U.S., every refugee case receives a white plastic bag from the International Organization for Migration (I.O.M.), in which they should keep their important identification and other official documents. Usually a family has one bag for all of their papers, but sometimes a family is split into several cases. Remind refugees to bring the IOM bag to medical appointments, social services appointments, school enrollment, obtaining state ID, and other required appointments. Refugees should keep the following things in their IOM bag:

  • I-94. They look like a printed sheet off of a website and should say "I-94" on the top. The I-94 does not expire, even if the sheet has an expiration date. The I-94's are now printed out by the caseworker.

  • PRM Letter. The PRM (The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration) letter will have a stamp from the Customs Border Patrol (CBP) on it with the date and the airport they arrived at in the United States. There may be multiple copies of the PRM letter, so note that the letter with the CBP stamp is the valid one. The PRM letter will arrive with the refugee.

  • Immunization Form. Before refugees are resettled to the US, they are given a health screening. World Relief will take that document and schedule a physical at the local health department.The immunization form will be given to the refugee at their initial physical.

  • American Red Cross letter. Occasionally, a refugee will arrive with a letter from the American Red Cross that serves as a passport. The letter may say that it needs to be returned, which is incorrect; the refugee should keep the letter. The ARC letter will arrive with the refugee. 

  • Medicaid cards. Refugees will meet with DSS and apply for Medicaid. The card will need to be taken to all doctors appointments. The Medicaid card will arrive through DSS within 30 days. 

  • Social Security Cards. The refugee will apply for a social security card within the first week of arrival. The card is a small blue cards with their name and a hyphenated 9 digit number. World Relief will receive the card in the mail and then deliver the card to the refugee.

  • Proof of Address or Copy of Lease. A copy of the lease with the refugee's name on it is the best proof of address. Otherwise, they will need a utilities bill or account information letter. Proof of address is necessary for school enrollment, applying for a state I.D., applying for a government (Safe Link Wireless) phone, requesting new housing, and food stamp recertification. The proof of address will be given to the refugee by a World Relief Staff upon arrival. 

Note: Make sure that the original documentation is kept by the refugee. If they need to provide a document to anyone (social security, doctor, ect.), they should only give them a COPY of the document.