Announcing the Welcome Corps

Duke faculty, students and staff can now privately sponsor refugees

-By Suzie Choi

January 31, 2023

On January 19, 2023, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced a new program called the Welcome Corps. The Corps will allow everyday Americans—including Duke faculty, students and staff—to sponsor refugees arriving in the country through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).

“Most importantly, sponsor groups offer a sense of welcome, belonging and inclusion for families that have left far more than their worldly goods behind—they’ve left behind friends, families, and the social networks that help us thrive.” 

from the Welcome Corps “Frequently Asked Questions” page (read more using this link)

How to apply 

Groups of five members minimum can apply together to form Private Sponsor Groups (PSGs). The members must be over the age of 18 and American citizens or permanent residents. They must also live in or near the same community. 

Each member must individually complete a background check (through this link) and sign the PSG commitment form (available through this link). Although all group members are encouraged to take it, only one member per PSG is required to complete the Welcome Corps Essentials Training (through this link). 

The rest of the application is designed for the PSG to collectively demonstrate its capacity to welcome refugees. The group must complete the Welcome Plan (available through this link), and they can get support in doing so through the Application Support Session that occurs every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Applicants can register for the support session using this link. Furthermore, the group must fundraise $2,275 per privately sponsored refugee newcomer and engage the community in the process. 

All parts of the application are submitted through this link.  

What happens next? 

Once approved, the PSG will be matched to refugees. PSG will also be connected to virtual, ongoing support offered by Welcome Corps experts and tools and resources including a budget template, fundraising support, an arrival checklist, and ongoing guidance throughout the sponsorship period. 

PSG must commit to providing welcoming services (e.g. helping them secure and prepare housing, greeting refugees at the airport, helping enroll children in local schools, and helping adults find employment) for the first 90 days in the community. A full list of core services can be found using this link. 

Interested in applying? 

Interested individuals can sign up for an upcoming information session to hear from sponsors who have already welcomed newcomers into their communities and members of the Welcome Corps team. The session occurs every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Register using this link.