What is an I.O.M. bag?

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 (a 3x4” refugee identification card)
  • TSA (Transportation Security Administration) letter (often the only form of photo identification refugees have when they arrive)
  • Passport if they have one
  • Visa, if they have one
  • Medical records (vaccinations, chest x-rays, etc)
  • Medicaid cards
  • Social Security Cards once they get them (small blue cards with their name and a hyphenated 9 digit number)
  • Apartment Lease (necessary for school enrollment, state I.D., etc.)