After years of limbo on Manus Island and Nauru, refugees will soon know whether they will be moving to the US to start a new life.

US authorities will begin handing out resettlement decisions from Wednesday and Thursday on both Pacific islands.

Some refugees received appointment slips on Tuesday afternoon.

"People are a bit surprised, some people had given up hope that it would happen," Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul told AAP.

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"Right now they're experiencing anxiety and anticipation."

A document on a notice board on Manus Island warns refugees that every case is different and moves through the required process at different speeds.

"Please be patient," the US Resettlement Support Centre document says.

It says more decisions will be issued over coming months.

- AAP