Call for Expression of Interest for NGO

UNHCR - Multi Country Office
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career / Advanced
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Nov 16

Position description

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a multilateral, inter-governmental institution, established by the General Assembly as its subsidiary organ through resolution 319 A (V) of 03 December 1949. UNHCR Multi-Country Office in Washington DC, USA oversees the operation in the USA and the Caribbean. 


In the United States, there is little knowledge or understanding of the issue of statelessness. Due to highly protective jus soli nationality laws, there is no native-born stateless population in the United States. However, due to the nature and scope of migration to the US, stateless persons do figure among the foreign-born population residing in the United States. These individuals face a range of hardships as a result of their lack of citizenship, including prolonged or multiple periods of detention, perpetual reporting requirements, difficulty retaining employment, indefinite family separation, and lack of access to identity documentation or bank accounts, among others. Without a definition of a stateless person under US immigration law, there is no government entity charged with identifying stateless persons, nor to provide them with a solution to these hardships. Their situation goes unrecognized and unaddressed.


Given that the US stateless population is largely foreign-born, the legal community – particularly the immigration bar –  is best placed to support the stateless by advocating for changes in law and policy that can provide them with protection and solutions. Although there is no dedicated pathway to citizenship for stateless persons, statelessness nonetheless can be relevant to certain benefits, protections or forms of relief under existing immigration law and policy. However, reflective of the broader population in the US, the immigration bar nonetheless lacks awareness and understanding of the issue, and stateless persons’ needs often go unidentified and unaddressed. Moreover, the legal community – a key catalyst in US civil society - remains largely unaware of and unengaged in advocacy efforts to protect stateless people in the US and advocate for their solutions. 


Given its potential impact at both at an individual level and also in advocating for systemic changes, the legal community is a key target for capacity-building to address statelessness in the US. In November of 2016, UNHCR’s office in Washington D.C hosted a series of consultations in line with UNHCR’s “Global Action Plan to End Statelessness: 2014-2024” (Global Action Plan). With the assistance of a range of stakeholders, UNHCR developed a U.S. National Action Plan (NAP),[1] laying out a strategy by which the United States can achieve the campaign’s global goals, and end statelessness, by 2024. Central among the identified strategic efforts was the mobilization of civil society, with the legal community singled out. This project presents potential to connect with broader nationwide efforts to increase legal representation and legal empowerment for those impacted by immigration enforcement, including through UNHCR’s strategic work in that space.


Competent local, national or international organizations are invited to express their interest in working with UNHCR in the activity areas detailed in the next section. The partners will coordinate the project activities with the UNHCR team in Washington, DC.  


Partners responding to this Call for Expression of Interest should include in their proposals how the project activities that they propose to achieve the objectives would be achieved in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


[1] This project emerges in the context of UNHCR’s global campaign to end statelessness by 2024, which produced a Global Action Plan that includes 10 strategic areas of action. Of those, based on robust stakeholder consultation in late 2016 and early 2017, the following actions were determined relevant to the US context: Action 2 (ensure that no child is born stateless); Action 3 (remove gender discrimination from nationality laws), Action 6 (grant protection status to stateless migrants and facilitate their naturalization), Action 7 (ensure birth registration for the prevention of statelessness), Action 8 (issue nationality documents to those with entitlement to it), Action 9 (accede to the UN Statelessness Conventions), and Action 10 (improve quantitative and qualitative data on stateless populations). These action areas guide UNHCR’s work on protections and solutions for statelessness in the US.

UNHCR seeks local, national or international partners to perform the following activities in United States: 


Objective 1: Access to Legal Assistance and Legal Remedies Improved


Output area 1: Capacity development supported

Expected outcome/ major activities (to include but not limited to):

·       Convene a core group of legal experts to define an effort to build a statelessness community of practice among legal practitioners in the US, including development of a four-year plan for legal practitioners.

·       Develop and implement a small-scale legal mentorship model, designed to provide technical support over the short term to a small group of lawyers nationwide who wish to represent stateless people.



Output area 2: Legal assistance provided

Expected outcome/ major activities (to include but not limited to):

·       Present an overview of relevant legal tools (model pleadings, motions, etc.) and develop at least three of them, preferably related to release from detention and/or asylum.

·       Take on legal representation of at least three individual stateless cases.

·       Work alongside United Stateless and others to engage the US legal community in advocacy around protection and solutions for statelessness in the US.

UNHCR Washington invites all potential local, national or international non-profit organizations, to apply for this Call.

Potential partners are requested to submit the following documents by the deadline (all documents must be provided in order to be considered for evaluation): 

Concept Note in English not exceeding 3 pages (must be submitted in a required format)

CVs of relevant staff for project implementation, where possible

Indicative budget submitted in the requested format, with detailed breakdown by output area and specifying the partner contribution.

Partner Declaration (to be duly filled and signed by NGOs not registered with UNHCR) 

Partner Procurement Capacity Checklist

Copy of latest audit report 

Application instructions

Interested parties are requested to contact UNHCR on [email protected] to receive the templates of the above documents. All interested parties must register on the UN Partner Portal prior to submitting the application ( and upload their organization’s profile and documents as necessary. All documents must be submitted to the UN Partner Portal in response to this particular Call for Expression of Interest by the deadline ( . If your application has multiple attachments, please upload a zip file. 

Any questions about this Call for Expression of Interest should be sent to [email protected]  by 27 November. For any inquiries about the UN Partner Portal, please write to [email protected]

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