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Expedited Immigrant Visa Processing for Certain Syrians and Iraqis

For more information, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions section on Direct Access Program (DAP) for Syrians.

    Aljijakli & Kosseff, LLC applauds the announcement of expedited immigrant visa processing for certain Syrians and Iraqis. In February 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) launched the Priority-2 (P-2) Direct Access Program (DAP) for Iraqi and Syrian Beneficiaries of an approved I-130 Petition for Alien Relative.

    The DAP program will expedite the processing of immigrant visas for qualifying Iraqi and Syrian nationals. The standard wait times for immigrant visa availability can be between two and twelve years for family-based petitions. The goal of DAP is to promote family reunification by allowing Iraqis and Syrians who are the beneficiaries of immigrant visas which are not yet current and who can demonstrate a refugee claim to come to the U.S. more quickly.

    Given our close work with the Syrian and Iraqi communities, Aljijakli & Kosseff responds to inquiries on an almost daily basis by families who are desperate to bring their loved ones to the U.S. Until now, there has been no preferential processing for Syrians or Iraqis despite the extraordinary need. DAP provides an opportunity to reunite some of these families safely and much sooner than expected.

    In order to qualify for DAP, an I-130 petition must be filed by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and then approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The beneficiary must also demonstrate to USCIS that he/she qualifies as a refugee, meaning that he/she is unable or unwilling to return to his/her country of citizenship because of persecution or a well-founded fear or persecution on account of race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group. The USCIS has stated that letters and applications will be mailed to the petitioners of cases with Iraqi or Syrian beneficiaries of approved I-130 petitions who may qualify for expedited processing under DAP. Derivative applicants of approved I-130 petitions will also be eligible to benefit from DAP. Derivatives are the spouses and unmarried children who were less than 21 years of age on the date the beneficiary’s I-130 petition was approved.

    Processing of DAP applications is only available to individuals living in thirteen locations: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. Government is unable to process DAP applications for I-130 beneficiaries residing in Syria. Where possible, applicants may be able to travel to one of the thirteen locations where processing is available but the U.S. government does not provide assistance with relocation. In case of relocation, it is important that you notify the National Visa Center of your change of address. The USCIS has also indicated that beneficiaries who are residing in the U.S. or Canada will not receive letters regarding DAP as they are not eligible to apply.

    For more information, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions section on Direct Access Program (DAP) for Syrians.