Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding the P-2 for Approved Iraqi 130 BeneficiariesBureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
February 13, 2008
Q. What is the difference between this program and the I-130?
A. This is an additional avenue for Iraqis with approved I-130 petitions to apply for refugee resettlement in the U.S. For I-130 beneficiaries with priority dates that will likely result in immigrant visas only becoming available many years from now, the refugee admission option could lead to their arrival in the U.S. much earlier. In order to qualify for resettlement as a refugee, your relative, the beneficiary, will need to be interviewed by DHS and demonstrate that he/she meets the U.S. refugee definition, namely that he/she is unable or unwilling to return to Iraq because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; is not firmly resettled in a foreign country; and is otherwise admissible to the United States. It is important to emphasize that, should your relative(s) choose to apply, there is no guarantee that your relative(s) will be approved for admission to the United States as refugees under this program. Finally, those who are approved for refugee resettlement would benefit from public assistance related to their travel, reception and initial stay in the United States, which is not available to individuals who resettle to the United States pursuant to an I-130 visa.
The I-130 petition must be filed for by an American citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident and must then be approved by DHS.
Q: If my relatives pursue refugee processing under this program, will they compromise their immigrant visa petition?
A: No. Iraqi beneficiaries of approved I-130 petitions may pursue both refugee resettlement under this program and immigrant visa processing simultaneously. If they prefer to wait for immigrant visa processing or fail to qualify for refugee status, their I-130 petition and their priority date for visa processing will be preserved until an immigrant visa number is available for their case.
Q: Which route is faster, immigrant visa processing or refugee resettlement? How long will processing take?
A: As the State Department letter explains, we are unable to predict whether it would be faster to process the I-130 petition for an immigrant visa or an application for refugee status, as that depends upon the particularities of each individual case and the individual’s priority date for immigrant visa processing.
Q. I received a letter from the State Department. What is the next step?
A. If interested in the P2 Iraqi Refugee Program, the beneficiary should complete the forms that were sent with the letter, including the section indicating interest in the program as well as any updates to your or the beneficiary’s contact information. These forms should be returned to the Refugee Processing Center (RPC) at the address provided on the forms. RPC will forward the information to the Overseas Processing Entity (OPE) in Cairo or Amman which will then contact the beneficiary regarding further case processing.
Q: My relatives are currently residing in X country [including any European country, Canada, or other country in the Middle East other than Egypt, Jordan and Iraq]. Are they eligible for refugee resettlement under this program?
A: As the State Department letter explains, as we begin implementation of this program, refugee processing will be available in Egypt and Jordan only. However, if prospective applicants cannot apply in these countries and reside elsewhere in the Middle East, they have the option of indicating another country in that region (other than Iraq) where they could be processed if the program is able to expand in the future.
Q: My relatives are currently residing in Iraq. How may they access this program?
A: We are unable to process prospective applicants under this program in Iraq. As the State Department letter explains, as we begin implementation of this program, refugee processing will be available only in Egypt and Jordan. If your relatives in Iraq are able to travel to Egypt or Jordan, they should contact us at email@example.com with updated contact information and advise us of their interest in applying for refugee resettlement under this program. However, as the aforementioned letter explains, if your relative(s) chooses to travel to a country for refugee processing, the U.S. government will not be in a position to assist them in obtaining a visa for that country or to provide other assistance relating to their stay. Similarly, if your relatives are subsequently denied refugee admission, the U.S. government can neither assist them in their return to the country from which they came nor assist them in obtaining legal status in their current location.
Q. How do people apply for refugee status under this program?
A: Letters are being sent to petitioners of approved I-130 petitions with Iraqi beneficiaries. We ask that the petitioners inform their relatives of this new program and contact us if they are interested in being considered for resettlement in the United States as refugees. The program is also open to I-130 petitions filed and approved in the future. U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) with Iraqi relatives outside of the United States who have not yet petitioned for an I-130 immigrant visa may continue to do so and, if those petitions are approved, their relatives will then become eligible to apply for refugee processing under this new program.
Q. How many people are currently eligible for processing under this program? How many do you expect to be resettled to the United States as refugees?
A: We have sent letters to almost 7,000 petitioners, although as I-130 petitions continue to be filed and approved, this number will increase. We cannot predict how many Iraqi I-130 beneficiaries will be willing to travel to the designated processing sites to pursue applications for refugee resettlement under this program, nor how many of those individuals will be determined by the Department of Homeland Security to qualify for admission to the United States as refugees.
Q. What about my other family members on the same application?
A. We are only listing the primary beneficiary on the form that needs to be returned, but the other family members included on the I-130 application may also be included on the case.
Q. At what point in the process is my I-130 application?
A. People who have questions about their I-130 petition should contact the National Visa Center directly at NVCinquiry@state.gov or 1-603-334-0700. Customer Service Representatives at the National Visa Center are available from 7:30 a.m. to midnight (EST)
Q. If I’ve already been scheduled for interview or have been interviewed for an immigrant visa, what should I do?
A. We recommend that you not pursue the refugee program if you have already been interviewed by a consular officer for an immigrant visa or an immigrant visa interview date has been scheduled, as in this case the immigrant visa route would likely be faster than awaiting completion of refugee processing.
Q. Can I send in additional supporting documentation to the RPC for my relative’s immigrant visa application?
A. No, please do not send us any additional documentation as it will be returned to you.
Q. What benefits do I receive under the refugee program?
A. Refugees are entitled to resettlement assistance through voluntary agencies under contract with the State Department. PRM maintains cooperative agreements with ten organizations, including nine private agencies and one state government agency, to provide initial resettlement services to arriving refugees. Services are provided according to standards of care developed jointly by the agencies and the U.S. Government and implemented in FY 2002. The agencies' agreements with the State Department obligate them to provide the following services:
· Pre-arrival resettlement planning;
· Reception on arrival;
· Basic needs support - including housing, furnishings, food, and clothing - for at least 30 days;
· Community orientation;
· Referrals to health, employment, and other services as needed; and
· Case management and tracking for up to 180 days.
Q. If admitted to the U.S. under the P2 Iraqi Refugee Program, can I take trips outside the U.S.?
A. Once admitted to the U.S. as a refugee, you may apply to DHS for a refugee travel document. Once you receive that document, you may travel outside the U.S. and be re-admitted, although travel to the country of origin may affect your status as a refugee.
Q. On the "Beneficiary Contact Information Form", the instructions state that it is to be completed by each beneficiary. Does that mean each member of my family needs to complete a form or is one form sufficient for all the family members included on the I-130?
A. If the family members are all listed on the I-130 petition and they live with the primary beneficiary, one form for the entire family will be accepted.
Q. If admitted, do I get U.S. citizenship? If so, how long does it take?
A. Once admitted, refugees are eligible to adjust their status and apply for Lawful Permanent Residency (the green card) after one year in the U.S. After five (5) years in the United States, they may apply for citizenship.
Q. What if someone already has a file with UNHCR or a UN number? What should they do?
A. I-130 beneficiaries may be considered under this I-130 beneficiary refugee program even if they have been registered with UNHCR.
Q. I received a letter for one petition I filed, but what about the other petitions I filed?
A. We are currently in the process of mailing out letters to all petitioners. If you filed other I-130 petitions that were approved, you should be receiving additional letters soon.
Q. Can you advise which route my relative should take?
A. We are unable to advise anyone on which path to select. This decision should be made by the petitioner and beneficiary.
Q. If the situation in Iraq calms down, will I be deported?
A. Unless a refugee or immigrant commits a serious crime, his or her status in the U.S. is permanent.
Q. I filed an I-130 petition for my parent. My siblings live with them – can they also be included on the same application?
A. Only the beneficiary named on the I-130 petition and his/her spouse and children who are otherwise eligible for immigrant visas based on this petition may be considered for refugee admission under this program.
Q. Although my beneficiary was born in Iraq, he has lived his entire life in Iran and is an Iranian citizen. Would he still be eligible to request and receive refugee admission consideration similar to an Iraqi citizen?
A. No, the program is open to Iraqi citizens only.
Q. If my relatives choose to travel to a country for refugee processing and are denied refugee resettlement, will it negatively affect their immigrant visa?
A. No. If they are denied refugee status, they will still be eligible for Immigrant Visa processing when the visa becomes available.
Q. My family member is already in the U.S. Can s/he apply for the Iraqi I-130 P2 program?
A. By its nature the Refugee Admissions Program provides an opportunity to resettle refugees to the United States from overseas and is not an available mechanism for seeking a new immigrant status for persons already present in the United States. This program is only available to persons who are located outside of the United States and who are the beneficiaries of approved immigrant visa petitions.
Q. Can the petitioner serve as the point of contact in order to protect the identities of family members/beneficiaries of the I-130 application?
A. The Department of State – through its Overseas Processing Entity, the International Organization for Migration – will not contact any potential applicant to this program who does not wish to be contacted, even via e-mail. If a beneficiary plans on going to Jordan or Egypt, they should wait until they are there to express interest AND provide RPC with their new address (send updated address info to firstname.lastname@example.org). We will not contact anyone until they are in Jordan or Egypt.
While it may impair the efficiency of communications on this matter, if the U.S.-based relative wishes to be the point of contact and provide the requisite biographic and other information to the Refugee Processing Center, s/he may do so. The U.S.-based relative can also send us the new address once the beneficiary has moved to either Jordan or Egypt. Please be aware that, once in Jordan or Egypt, refugee processing is likely to take 4 – 6 months. There is no guarantee of approval.
Q. Where do I get the form to apply for Iraqi I-130 P2 program?
A. If you have filed an I-130 Visa Petition, the RPC will receive your case file information from the NVC. The RPC will send the petitioner a packet with instructions on how to express interest in applying for the Iraqi I-130 P2 Program. These forms are not found on the internet and will only be sent to you once RPC has received your case file information from NVC.
Q. I have an NVC case number but have not received the packet from RPC regarding application to the I-130 program. What should I do?
A. If you have not received a packet from the RPC regarding this program, please wait a month UNLESS you are at a different address than the address provided on your I-130 petition. However, if there IS an address change, and you have not heard from us (i.e., received a packet), then please notify NVC of the changed address. The RPC will receive all change of address updates.