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PMartin37

I married a refugee

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Iraq
Timeline

This is my first post to the forum. I recently married an Iraqi refugee who is in India. I filed the I-130 petition for immigration and was issued a receipt number and NOA1. I am having a crash course in the immigration process since at this time I cannot afford a lawyer. I was absolutely terrified about the I-130 since I understand one small mistake can mean denial. So far so good.... I had the good fortune to speak to a helpful, friendly officer at USCIS customer service who assured me that everything was in order and no further evidence was needed thus far. She gave me the receipt number since the G-1145 I filled out apparently was for nothing. I've received no emails even though they had my application 12 days before I called. First lesson learned....don't rely on email- check for yourself! My concern is that my husband's passport has expired (he's unable to renew it there in India as their embassy doesn't issue them at this time). When he's approved for a visa (thinking positively :) ) I wonder if this is going to be a tremendous delay. I don't know of anyone else in this particular situation from reading other forums here. I guess my general question would be... does the fact that my husband is a refugee create any significant snags in the process that mean time delays? We are apart right now and it's very difficult for both of us. I just want to prepare myself or possibly plan other routes if this is going to be a real problem.


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Filed: Lift. Cond. (apr) Country: China
Timeline

My concern is that my husband's passport has expired (he's unable to renew it there in India as their embassy doesn't issue them at this time). When he's approved for a visa (thinking positively :) ) I wonder if this is going to be a tremendous delay.

A valid passport is a requirement prior to being issued a visa. This is something that needs to be resolved prior to the interview.

I don't know of anyone else in this particular situation from reading other forums here. I guess my general question would be... does the fact that my husband is a refugee create any significant snags in the process that mean time delays? We are apart right now and it's very difficult for both of us. I just want to prepare myself or possibly plan other routes if this is going to be a real problem.

Refugee status in of itself does not mean time delays. However, the Embassy or Consulate that he interviews at in India could decide to place the case into Administrative Processing at the conclusion of the interview for a variety of reasons. If that were to happen, you are looking at more waiting.


Our journey:

Spoiler

September 2007: Met online via social networking site (MySpace); began exchanging messages.
March 26, 2009: We become a couple!
September 10, 2009: Arrived for first meeting in-person!
June 17, 2010: Arrived for second in-person meeting and start of travel together to other areas of China!
June 21, 2010: Engaged!!!
September 1, 2010: Switched course from K1 to CR-1
December 8, 2010: Wedding date set; it will be on February 18, 2011!
February 9, 2011: Depart for China
February 11, 2011: Registered for marriage in Wuhan, officially married!!!
February 18, 2011: Wedding ceremony in Shiyan!!!
April 22, 2011: Mailed I-130 to Chicago
April 28, 2011: Received NOA1 via text/email, file routed to CSC (priority date April 25th)
April 29, 2011: Updated
May 3, 2011: Received NOA1 hardcopy in mail
July 26, 2011: Received NOA2 via text/email!!!
July 30, 2011: Received NOA2 hardcopy in mail
August 8, 2011: NVC received file
September 1, 2011: NVC case number assigned
September 2, 2011: AOS invoice received, OPTIN email for EP sent
September 7, 2011: Paid AOS bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 9, 2011)
September 8, 2011: OPTIN email accepted, GZO number assigned
September 10, 2011: Emailed AOS package
September 12, 2011: IV bill invoiced
September 13, 2011: Paid IV bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 14, 2011)
September 14, 2011: Emailed IV package
October 3, 2011: Emailed checklist response (checklist generated due to typo on Form DS-230)
October 6, 2011: Case complete at NVC
November 10, 2011: Interview - APPROVED!!!
December 7, 2011: POE - Sea-Tac Airport

September 17, 2013: Mailed I-751 to CSC

September 23, 2013: Received NOA1 in mail (receipt date September 19th)

October 16, 2013: Biometrics Appointment

January 28, 2014: Production of new Green Card ordered

February 3, 2014: New Green Card received; done with USCIS until fall of 2023*

 

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: China
Timeline

does he have official refugee status in india, or is he just hiding out, living illegally in India ?


Sometimes my language usage seems confusing - please feel free to 'read it twice', just in case !
Ya know, you can find the answer to your question with the advanced search tool, when using a PC? Ditch the handphone, come back later on a PC, and try again.

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Iraq
Timeline

Hey there and thank you both for replying so fast! To be a little more clear- Yes he does have official refugee status for the last 8 years there. And the passport issue definitely needs to be resolved, I totally agree. From what I understand, for refugees residing there in India, the Red Cross will issue a travel document which allows them to leave the country. He's going to be forced to do this because it's impossible to get his passport renewed there in India. He's tried to renew it and been told he'd have to leave the country which is NOT an option for him. I'm hoping and praying this won't become an issue because he's really got his hands tied about that.


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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Honduras
Timeline

If your husband is indeed legally a refugee, I suggest you direct your questions to local (or possibly Indian) refugee aid organizations (where I live we have a very large population of refugees, but not sure about where you live). The type of organization that helps refugees settle into the US and advises them of the resources available (different than USC or other types of immigrants). They will know if he can process his visa and travel without passport.

It will make a huge difference if he is truly a refugee (political, religious, etc). I would see what it takes to get him refugee status before doing anything else, but that's just me.

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Iraq
Timeline

Well as far as trying to get him resettled, I tried for years to get him resettled with his family who are in Canada. I got my sister and my mother to write letters on his behalf as well to the UN office in India. I went as far as writing to the president (why not?? I was exasperated!!) and got a reply a year later directing me to use the DHS reference number and contact the UN headquarters in Geneva- which I did. Result? Nothing. Finally after a few years of frustration and rejection on that end, I finally lost faith in that effort. As it turns out, I finally went to India where we married and had our honeymoon in Agra(Taj Mahal) and nearly a day or so afterwards, my hubby gets a call he's been approved to resettle in Canada. He goes to New Delhi to meet with UN officers and he's told that since he's now married to a US citizen, he'll need for his wife to sponsor him as an immigrant. Fun right?


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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: China
Timeline

I think the passport problem is fixable, but not by getting a new passport from Iran.

There's some other document that the IV Unit at the US Consulate can issue, some sort of travel document.

I don't recall the exact name of this, but

in some time, when the DS-230 is submitted, you can explain all in a letter and include that with the DS-230. Eventually, a Consular Officer will read that letter back at the IV unit, and understand which travel document he needs to leave the country and pass through a USA POE.

You've a situation that is rare, a refugee living LEGALLY in a country, with documents proving refugee status, now married to a USCitizen, who is applying for a CR-1/IR-1 visa via the I-130 submittal process.

I've read about this a bit here in some countries in Africa, but it's been some time.


Sometimes my language usage seems confusing - please feel free to 'read it twice', just in case !
Ya know, you can find the answer to your question with the advanced search tool, when using a PC? Ditch the handphone, come back later on a PC, and try again.

-=-=-=-=-=R E A D ! ! !=-=-=-=-=-

Whoa Nelly ! Want NVC Info? see http://www.visajourney.com/wiki/index.php/NVC_Process

Congratulations on your approval ! We All Applaud your accomplishment with Most Wonderful Kissies !

 

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Filed: Other Country: China
Timeline

If your husband is indeed legally a refugee, I suggest you direct your questions to local (or possibly Indian) refugee aid organizations (where I live we have a very large population of refugees, but not sure about where you live). The type of organization that helps refugees settle into the US and advises them of the resources available (different than USC or other types of immigrants). They will know if he can process his visa and travel without passport.

It will make a huge difference if he is truly a refugee (political, religious, etc). I would see what it takes to get him refugee status before doing anything else, but that's just me.

You could do this or contact the applicable US Consulate's Immigrant Visa Unit directly by email. Correcting earlier posts slightly, the standard requirement is for a photocopy of the passport data page to be sent to NVC before any interview is even scheduled.


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Filed: Timeline

Just for reference, is it only the Iraqi embassy in India that won't issue passports? If Iraqi embassies outside of India could issue them, have you thought about speaking to Iraqi embassies in Pakistan or Nepal too? (If there are any)

And I don't get why he couldn't be resettled to Canada if married to an American..

Edited by jaejayC

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Iraq
Timeline

Just for reference, is it only the Iraqi embassy in India that won't issue passports? If Iraqi embassies outside of India could issue them, have you thought about speaking to Iraqi embassies in Pakistan or Nepal too? (If there are any)

And I don't get why he couldn't be resettled to Canada if married to an American..

Indeed Jae...I don't get it either. All I know is that his interview lasted probably 10 min for his resettlement because immediately they told him the resettlement offer was canceled since he was married to me and he would have to seek immigration rather than resettlement. Sounded weird to me...but who am I to argue? I guess that is their protocol.

In regards to the passport issue, there are other embassies that issue them..they have changed recently (2010 I think?) and they are not available at all embassies. I think maybe Jordan..I believe Canada, I would have to check into that. For him to be issued the passport he would need to leave the country which ...lol presents another problem..coming back. To my knowledge the travel document issued via Red Cross for UN refugees is a ONE way pass meaning he won't have the option to return to India. In short, it's a big gooey mess with this. And I'm praying it won't put us into administrative processing limbo when the visa approval time comes.


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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Iraq
Timeline

I think the passport problem is fixable, but not by getting a new passport from Iran.

There's some other document that the IV Unit at the US Consulate can issue, some sort of travel document.

I don't recall the exact name of this, but

in some time, when the DS-230 is submitted, you can explain all in a letter and include that with the DS-230. Eventually, a Consular Officer will read that letter back at the IV unit, and understand which travel document he needs to leave the country and pass through a USA POE.

You've a situation that is rare, a refugee living LEGALLY in a country, with documents proving refugee status, now married to a USCitizen, who is applying for a CR-1/IR-1 visa via the I-130 submittal process.

I've read about this a bit here in some countries in Africa, but it's been some time.

Darnell, yes I gathered from reading the forums here that my situation is rare. I can't figure out how to connect to others in this situation either to support each other :-( I believe you're right about the travel document. My hubby understands that the travel document can be issued (but he says its the Red Cross that issues these to UN refugees only). However, I don't want to be guessing when it comes to this because I hate delays (especially if they can be avoided on my part). He's been there as a refugee for 8 years now and he's very bored, lonely, frustrated (much like I am at the moment). I've known him for 4 years and we really are beyond ready to start our life TOGETHER.


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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Iraq
Timeline

You could do this or contact the applicable US Consulate's Immigrant Visa Unit directly by email. Correcting earlier posts slightly, the standard requirement is for a photocopy of the passport data page to be sent to NVC before any interview is even scheduled.

That's a really good idea and I'm going to do this ASAP. Thank you!!!


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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Morocco
Timeline

So rare that you might not get to the point of complaining about waiting in AP. You might not be able to do this case as your DIY.

Although still finding good information that will help you and ideas like contact the local refugee org for info is invaluable on VJ!!!! It sounds like you might need a lawyer in the end. Have you requested legal advice from a professional?

I chime in only because I (not being a lawyer) have had personal experiences with the situation in Iraq and the refugee equation to some extent.

IF the India embassy did sign off on him with the resettlement offer...why doesn't he go back to Iraq and renew his passport??

Unless it is very personal reason (u dont wish to divulge) or he was high ranking in previous politics...the embassy is back in business in Iraq. People have moved back that were staying outside of the country for their lives sake. It seems like an option he might not wish to take but will have to. Because as advised on here he will need a passport.

If the passport is needed for possible approval of your visa petition then it would be worth the travel to get him another.

I hope you can solve your problem

Edited by inluvnwaiting

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Filed: Timeline

Indeed Jae...I don't get it either. All I know is that his interview lasted probably 10 min for his resettlement because immediately they told him the resettlement offer was canceled since he was married to me and he would have to seek immigration rather than resettlement. Sounded weird to me...but who am I to argue? I guess that is their protocol.In regards to the passport issue, there are other embassies that issue them..they have changed recently (2010 I think?) and they are not available at all embassies. I think maybe Jordan..I believe Canada, I would have to check into that. For him to be issued the passport he would need to leave the country which ...lol presents another problem..coming back. To my knowledge the travel document issued via Red Cross for UN refugees is a ONE way pass meaning he won't have the option to return to India. In short, it's a big gooey mess with this. And I'm praying it won't put us into administrative processing limbo when the visa approval time comes.

I know the way it works here in Norway for most refugees and asylum seekers is that until they get permanent residence they are basically at the lowest end of the immigration food chain. They have very limited rights. They're not technically in any legal status but they can't be sent home due to fear of persecution etc. Meaning while they're in, they can't be deported, but once they leave they have no right of return.

Does he have any chance of getting any type of legal status in India other than temporary refugee status? That at least would allow him to travel.

Pushbrk's advice is always good advice. I'm sure the IV unit would be able to help you out somehow or guide you in the right direction.

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Serbia
Timeline

I arrived to the USA as a refugee from Serbia through international rescue committee maybe you can contact them and they might be able to help with the passport situation. I know that if you come as a refugee you might not need a passport I didnt have one. But your husband is not comig as a refugee so I am not sure how it will work. Do they have emergency passports like the USA gives to Green card holders that don't have passports? I wish you the best of luck.

Off topic my husband was/is a refugee as well but he got Serbian citizenship and their passport which he used to come here on the cr1 visa.

Edited by Dana-Mića

[font="Century Gothic"]Married March 27, 2010
Sent out I-130 December 29, 2010
Recieved NOA 1 January 4, 2011
Touched January 6, 2011
Recieved NOA 2 May 9, 2011
Interview September 27, 2011
Visa in hand Septmeber 30, 2011 (it would of been the same day as the interview but they requested some more info)
POE - JFK, NYC October 12, 2011 [/font]


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