Any person who is outside his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution. Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. People with no nationality must generally be outside their country of last habitual residence to qualify as a refugee. Refugees are subject to ceilings by geographic area set annually by the President in consultation with Congress and are eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence in the United States.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

A person who has a well-founded fear of persecution if he/she should return to his/her home country.  He/she applies to come to the United States in another country and enters the United States as a refugee.

Source: U.S. Department of State.