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Implementation of New P-2 on Iraqi Beneficiaries of Approved I-130 Petitions

Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
December 21, 2007

The Department of State, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has designated Iraqi beneficiaries of approved family-based immigrant visa petitions (known as I-130s) as individuals who may be granted direct access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. This designation creates a broader access mechanism for family reunification through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program on behalf of Iraqis in the United States. If the Iraqi beneficiaries of the approved I-130 petitions wish to apply for consideration for refugee admission to the United States under this program, they may do so. (They may pursue both programs simultaneously, if they choose.) 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: How do people apply for refugee status under this program?

A: The Department of State is sending out letters to petitioners of the approved I-130 petitions who have already filed such petitions on behalf of their Iraqi relatives. (A copy of this letter is available here.) We are asking that the petitioners inform their relatives of this new program and contact us if they are interested in being considered for resettlement to the United States as refugees. The program is also open to Iraqi beneficiaries of I-130 petitions 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 out to some 7,000 petitioners, although as the I-130 petitions continue to be processed, this number will increase. We cannot predict how many eligible Iraqi relatives will be willing to travel to the current 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: Where will you be processing applications for refugee resettlement under this program?

A: As we begin implementation of this program, refugee processing will be available in either Egypt or Jordan. We are exploring, however, whether prospective applicants could apply in other countries. At present, prospective applicants have the option of indicating another country in the region (other than Iraq) where they could be processed if the program is able to expand in the future.

Q: How long will refugee processing take under this program? Which route will be faster – immigrant visa processing or refugee processing?

A: The timing of refugee processing depends on the particularities of each individual case. As we begin this program in Egypt and Jordan, we anticipate that on average, refugee processing may take anywhere from four to eight months. 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 is affected by the individual’s priority date for immigrant visa processing. We ask that people who have questions about their I-130 petition contact the National Visa Center directly at NVCinquiry@state.gov or 1-603-334-0700. For those people who have questions about refugee processing, we ask that they contact the Refugee Processing Center at contactinfo@wrapsnet.org with their questions.


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