The Direct Assistance Unit is part of the Migrant Assistant Division and is responsible for providing psychosocial assistance. The assistance is in the areas of medical attention, social support, and Assisted Voluntary Return to country of origin.

Who do we serve?

The Direct Assistance Unit serves stranded migrants.

Who are ‘stranded migrants’?

Stranded migrants are divided into several categories; some of these categories are:

  • UNHCR appointments slip holders.
  • Migrants who have been here for more than six months who are:
    • Passport holders with no intention of registering with UNHCR.
    • Passport holders who might register with UNHCR.
  •  UNHCR closed or rejected files.
  • Exploited migrants.

How long do we provide assistance?

Each case is different and requires different needs. A caseworker will gladly make an interview with you and determine your eligibility depending on IOM criteria.

If you do not fit the criteria, the caseworker will do their best to link you to other organizations that can provide you with what you need.

How can I meet with a Direct Assistance caseworker?

You can come to the office directly and ask for an intake interview. If you have support from other organizations in Cairo, they can also ask for an interview for you by emailing

What is an Intake Interview?

The intake interview is a pre-screening where we will get your basic information and decide your eligibility. If accepted, then a caseworker will meet you on a scheduled date to hear about your situation.

What types of services are available?

If you are eligible, you can have access to medical attention, socio-economic support, and/or Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR).

What does the AVRR Unit do?

If you want to return to your country, the AVRR team will meet with you to find out if it is possible. Depending on your country of origin, the AVRR unit can help you get back home and facilitate your reintegration.

Can AVRR send anyone back to any country?

Depending on the country of origin and its current circumstances, an AVRR caseworker will take a decision. However, there are certain countries AVRR cannot assist on your return due to ongoing conflicts or unsafe conditions.


What documents do I need to provide?

All you need to provide is an ID or a UNHCR appointment slip that shows your name on it.

Will you share my information with anybody?

We will not share your information with anyone without your written consent and will explain if we need to share your information with anyone. However, there are some cases where we might not be able to assist you without this consent.

Does it matter how I arrived to Cairo?


Whether or not you have permission to say in enter or stay in Egypt it does not make a difference when we are assessing whether or not we can assist you. If you have concerns about your immigration status, we can discuss these with you and advise you of your options.

If I received assistance before from IOM, am I still eligible?

If you are still a migrant who hasn’t registered with UNHCR after six months of receiving your last assistance from IOM, a reassessment can be made. If your eligibility is determined and accepted then you will receive assistance again, specific to your situation.

Keep in mind: you will meet for another interview where the caseworker will ask you about your situation and circumstances since your last assistance.  

What makes me NOT eligible for IOM direct assistance?   

Any person who:

  • Holds a UNHCR Yellow Card.
  • Holds a UNHCR Blue card.
  • Holds an Asylum Seeker certificate (white paper).
  • Have received IOM FA assistance in the past six months.
  • Holds a passport and been in Egypt for less than six months
  • Someone who is under 18 and in Egypt without a guardian. Although please do ask for advice about where you can go for help.

If I am NOT any of the mentioned above, will I be eligible for assistance?

Depending on the level of your vulnerability and the caseworker’s assessment, a decision will be made.

What if I am not an Arabic speaker?

It is not a problem. IOM will provide you with translators to be present at your screening. You bring this leaflet along to indicate which language you need.

Are there other services that could be extended to my family members?

Any medical concerns YOU or ANY of your FAMILY MEMBERS are experiencing, are covered for the approved period of assistance.

Is there any assistance provided for school fees?

Any needs in regards school fees for your children can be assessed along with everything else.

Please prepare your children’s documents and school enrollment papers on the day of your interview so we can assess the case and inform you of our decision.

Are other services provided?

If we do not have the service you want, IOM has lots of partnerships with other organizations who can provide you with your needs. Please do not hesitate to ask.