Pre Arrival Preparation

Get Prepared


1) Learn about them: Cross cultural relationship building improves when we know more about the  countries and the conflicts that caused international displacement. Countries studies for the  Temporary Protected Status Countries (TPS) are attached for your review. Refugees flee conflict,  see websites below to understand what issues surround the newcomer move.  

2) Learn from them: While International newcomers also have much to learn about their new  homeland, they also have much to teach us: 1) language, 2) an international perspective, and 3)  native customs and traditions, and 4) their religion and faith.  

3) Learn with them: The resettlement process is filled with complex resettlement tasks that require  a joint effort between the newcomer, volunteer, and resettlement caseworker. There is much to  accomplish within the first 1st 30, 60 and 90 days. Most federal financial assistance ends at the 90-day mark where newcomers “graduate” from resettlement agencies. However, expecting  international newcomers to learn English, find a job, buy a car and resettle into school  etc.…within the 90 day time-limit is almost impossible. Survival beyond the 90-day period falls  to the teamwork of the newcomer and volunteer(s).  

Suggested Actions Prior to newcomer(s) arrival: 

1) Contact resettlement caseworker and obtain country study or download country study sheets  from the Interlinkt website. Review additional websites below. 

2) Identify number, age, and genders of incoming newcomers. Advertise clothing needs within the  church/community (this is a team effort) for items needed for local area (clothes, coats, shoes  etc…) 

3) Identify household items required for newcomer’s apartment.  

4) Identify newcomer homeland cuisine recipes, identify supermarkets restaurants that serve  dishes or sell international ingredients. 

5) Each state and community have different procedures. Users of Interlinkt are invited to provide  local area website links that will be added to Interlinkt. This can be done via Facebook, Instagram or emailing

Supporting Documents 

1) International Newcomers will initially provide all documents (usually in a plastic International  Organization for Migration -IOM) for the refugee caseworker. Upon arrival place documents  in a safe file organizer see Task #3, Important Papers. 

2) Make digital copies of apartment lease (needed for school registration and other tasks) see Task  #2. As a best practice, having newcomers make digital copies stored in their phone allows them  to email needed documents immediately to service agencies as needed (example: apartment  lease for school registration). 

Cultural Background & Related Websites 

1) Having an overview of newcomer country backgrounds may help the volunteer be culturally  sensitive and aware of customs and traditions. 

2) The following websites can provide some vital information.  

  1. BBC News Country Profiles –
  2. The World Factbook –
  3. Temporary Protected Status Countries – protected-status

3) Additionally, see attached country summaries provided by students at Dallas Baptist  University. 

An initial list of tasks: Within 30 days, most tasks can be done concurrently. Asterisks (*) indicate  actions normally led by resettlement agencies (community neighbor teams assist). Newcomers being  resettled by Welcome Corps sponsors can follow the same task list.  

Task #1 – Pre arrival preparation. 

Task #2 – (*) Housing – Welcome baskets, furniture, and clothing. 

Task #3 – File Folder For Travel Documents, Important Files 

Task #4 – (*) Receive initial medical records and enroll individual (s) in designated medical facility. Obtain  Vaccination records in medical facility (sealed envelope) for school registration. Refugee   Medicaid is only good for 90 days. Reapply for regular Medicaid after 90 days or apply for 

Task #5 – (*) SSN – within 10 days of arrival (new requirement may require a wait for 2 week delay).   Needed for Bank account.  

Task #6 – (*) Begin English as Second Language Training- ESL Training: 1) public transportation, 2)  shopping, 3) Job Training 3) Job Application, 4) Job Interview, 5) Job Culture, 6) private  insurance.  

Task #7 – (*) Register/enroll school aged children. 

Assist students in signing for individual laptop, open up student account, ESL tutoring, parent training, soccer/other sports 

Task #8 – (*) Begin Job Training and placement. 

Task #9 – (*) Employment Authorization Card

Task #10 – (*) Register families for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Special Supplemental   Nutrition Program (SNAP)

Task #11 – (*) Register newcomers for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Task #12 – Shopping, ethnic foods, clothes, shoes 

Task #13 – (*) Financial Literacy – Bank Account – checking + credit card, savings + debit card, Checks and   overdraft protection. Loans and interest rates. Direct deposit (or monthly fees).

Task #14 – Driver’s Permit (online test), Driver’s License 

Task #15 – Newcomer Trauma 

"Building bridges of hope for a more secure future."

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