Brief Extension for Iraqi Applicants for Special Immigrant Visa to U.S.

The promise of “special immigrant” status (an EB-4 visa, leading to a green card) for Iraqi nationals who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government during the conflict there (between March 20, 2003 and Sept. 30, 2013) has proven to be an elusive one. Applicants have gotten stuck in bureaucratic morasses or waited endlessly for the results of security checks – with the result that many could not complete their applications before the availability of this visa was scheduled to end, on September 30, 2013.

Presumably in light of this issue, Congress recently passed legislation extending this particular portion of the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. The extension works as follows:

  • USCIS may continue approving petitions or applications for visas or adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident in any Iraqi SIV case so long as they were pending (awaiting action) with USCIS or the U.S. Department of State (DOS) as of September 30, 2013.
  • USCIS may also approve an additional 2,000 Iraqi SIV cases, provided the initial applications to the DOS Chief of Mission in Iraq are made by Dec. 31, 2013.

For more information, see the page of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website entitled “Special Immigrant Visa Program for Iraqi Nationals Who Worked For or On Behalf Of the U.S. Government Extended” or consult an experienced immigration attorney.