Button 3 Button 1 Button 2 Button 4 Button 5 Button 6
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google
Free Initial Consultation | Se habla español 630-932-9100
Mevorah Law Offices LLC
DuPage County Attorneys


900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100


134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761


333 N. Randall Road, Suite 104, St. Charles, IL 60175

Phone: 630-443-0600


58 N. Chicago Street, Suite 500, Joliet, IL 60432

Phone: 815-727-4500


105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100

What Does “Firm Resettlement” Mean?

Posted on in Immigration
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 1630
  • Print

Firm ResettlementThe 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees and its ensuing 1967 Protocol are perhaps the founding documents of asylum law in the United States, providing everything from a working definition of ‘asylee’ and ‘refugee’ to the categories under which one can claim asylum. It does also specify certain bars and exclusions, setting forth some conditions under which someone is expressly unable to claim the Convention’s protections. Being ‘firmly resettled’ in another country is one of the most often seen.

What Is Firm Resettlement?

An alien or potential asylee is considered to be ‘firmly resettled’ in a country when they received an offer, while in that country, of permanent residence, citizenship or any other potentially permanent immigration status, unless they show one of two exceptions are true. The first is that they only entered the country as an expedient path on their flight from persecution or danger, while the second is to allege that they were not actually resettled because the country’s authorities put such restrictions on the person’s freedoms as to render them subject to governmental whims. In the latter case, the issue of firm resettlement is usually decided on a case-by-case basis by analyzing an individual’s restrictions and freedoms during that period of time.

It is important to note that the firm resettlement bar is slightly different for refugees than for asylees in that the bar only applies to refugees if they receive an offer of immigration status in a country they entered for purposes of flight. For example, if a person claiming refugee status fled the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, former Zaire) deliberately to Rwanda, and was offered permanent residence there, the firm resettlement bar would apply. If they instead entered Rwanda accidentally, walking over an undefended border, the bar would conceivably not apply.

The Four-Step Framework

Cases involving the question of firm resettlement tend to proceed on a four-step framework, first laid out by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in Matter of A-G-G- (2011). The steps are:

  • The asylum officer must be the one to bring up the existence of an offer of firm resettlement;
  • If evidence exists to support the existence of such an offer, the applicant must be given the chance to rebut it or explain it;
  • The officer makes a decision; and
  • If they decide the applicant was in fact firmly resettled, the burden of proof shifts to the applicant to prove that one of the exceptions to the firm resettlement rule applies.

This framework is important to understand because failure to provide you the opportunity to explain evidence of firm resettlement can be grounds for appeal if the officer decides against you. It is also important to be aware that ‘evidence’ of a firm offer of resettlement can sometimes be tenuous. In Matter of D-X- and Y-Z- (2012), the court held that even a fake document, or a document obtained fraudulently, can constitute an offer of firm resettlement. If you have been forced to use fake documents, you may need extremely strong evidence to prove you were not firmly resettled in whichever country those documents purported to be from.

Ask an Immigration Attorney for Help

People who apply for asylum do not do so lightly, and being ineligible due to a technicality can be a death sentence for some. It is imperative to understand your position as best you can, and an experienced attorney can make all the difference. The skilled Chicago immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC have years of experience in these cases, and we will do our very best to help you with yours. Contact us today via our website or via telephone to set up a free initial consultation.



  • DuPage County Immigration Lawyers
  • Elite Lawyers
  • National Association of Distinguished Counsel
  • Top 40 Under 40
  • 2015 Top 40 Lawyers Under 40
  • Super Lawyers

Let us start helping you with a FREE initial consultation.

NOTE: Fields with a * indicate a required field.

One Stop For All Your Legal Needs

Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 35 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Joliet, St. Charles, and Chicago.

Steven Mevorah has assembled experienced attorneys under one roof so that his clients need not search for a new attorney each time they need help. Mr. Mevorah has also established a wide network of additional attorneys so that his clients merely need to stop by Mevorah Law Offices LLC to find the attorney they need.

Client Focused Representation

Our practice is focused on meeting your needs with flexible hours and locations to serve you:

  • Free initial consultations
  • Saturday and evening appointments available
  • Home and hospital visits if your injuries prevent you from traveling
  • Multiple locations throughout Chicagoland
  • Veteran trial attorneys
  • Experienced negotiators
  • Payment plans available
  • Cash, check, or credit card accepted