Throughout this training module, you will come across references to adjudicationspecific supplemental information located at the end of the module, as well as links to documents that contain adjudication-specific, detailed information. You are responsible for knowing the information in the referenced material that pertains to the adjudications you will be performing.

For easy reference, supplements for international and refugee adjudications are in pink and supplements for asylum adjudications are in yellow.

You may also encounter references to the legacy Refugee Affairs Division (RAD) and the legacy International Operations Division (IO). RAD has been renamed the

International and Refugee Affairs Division (IRAD) and has assumed much of the workload of IO, which is no longer operating as a separate RAIO division.


The refugee definition at INA § 101(a)(42) states that an individual is a refugee if he or she establishes past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of a protected characteristic. An applicant can establish eligibility for refugee resettlement or asylum even if he or she has not actually suffered persecution in the past.

The requirements for an applicant to establish eligibility based on past persecution are discussed in the RAIO Training modules, Refugee Definition and Definition of

Persecution and Eligibility Based on Past Persecution. The requirements needed to establish that persecution or feared persecution is “on account of” any of the five protected grounds in the refugee definition are discussed in the RAIO Training module,

Nexus and the Five Protected Grounds.

This module discusses the elements necessary to establish a well-founded fear of future persecution and how to elicit testimony regarding each of these elements.

To correctly determine whether an applicant’s fear is well-founded, you must have a firm understanding of: 1) the subjective and objective elements of well-founded fear; 2) the four-part Mogharrabi test;1 and 3) the reasonable possibility standard of proof.


The burden of proof is on the applicant to establish that he or she is a refugee as defined in the refugee definition. Credible testimony alone may be sufficient to meet the