USCIS reminds you that authorization for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for Iraqi nationals who worked for or on behalf of the United States government will expire on Sept. 30, 2013. Individuals applying under this program, including family members, must be admitted to the United States or adjust their statuses before Oct. 1, 2013.
The program was created by Section 1244 of Public Law 110-181, as amended by Public Law 110-242. It covers Iraqi nationals who—during the period between March 20, 2003, and the present—have been employed by or on behalf of the United States government in Iraq for a period of not less than one year. The expiration date also applies to spouses and unmarried child(ren) accompanying or following to join the principal applicant.
As announced at its inception, the Iraqi SIV program will expire on Sept. 30, 2013, at 11:59 p.m. EDT unless Congress extends the program. After Sept. 30, 2013, USCIS will reject any petitions or applications filed based on the Iraqi SIV program. Beginning Oct. 1, 2013, USCIS will suspend processing of any pending Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, or Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, filed based on the Iraqi SIV program.
As announced at the inception of the program, the Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program is scheduled to end on September 30, 2013. The Department of State has been working with its interagency partners and interested members of Congress to extend our authority beyond September 30 to allow for the issuance of SIVs after that date. However, under current legislation, our authority to issue SIVs to eligible individuals who have been employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq ends on September 30, 2013.
We recognize that many who have been employed or worked on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq, and their families, face real threats as a result of their U.S. government affiliation. We take these threats, and the concerns of those who work with us, very seriously and we are committed to providing them with the benefits for which they are legally eligible.
The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for U.S. affiliated Iraqis remains in place and will continue to be available after September 30, 2013 regardless of whether the Iraqi SIV program ends at that time. The Embassy encourages SIV applicants to seek out information about the USRAP as the eligibility criteria are very similar to those of the SIV. For more information on the USRAP for U.S. affiliated Iraqis, please visithttp://iraq.usembassy.gov/refugeesidpaffairs.html.
What Does this Mean for Me?
No matter what stage of the process you are in, all selected and eligible applicants must obtain their visa by September 30, 2013. There is no guarantee that the SIV program authority will be extended; therefore, you are strongly encouraged to act quickly to ensure you have the best possible chance to complete your case by September 30.
If you have not yet applied for Chief of Mission approval: If you meet the current program requirements but have not yet submitted your application package to the Chief of Mission you may still do so, but we can offer no assurance your case will be completed before the end of the program if an extension is not enacted by Congress.
If your Chief of Mission (COM) application is pending at National Visa Center (NVC) while documentarily incomplete: We encourage you to provide all missing documents from your COM application to the NVC as soon possible. If you were formerly employed by a Department of Defense contractor and are missing current contact information for you American citizen supervisor, you may submit a supervisor locator application, form DS-158. For more information on the supervisor locator tool, visit: http://travel.state.gov/visa/visa_5595.html.
If you have received a Chief of Mission approval letter, but have not yet filed a petition: We encourage you to file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as quickly as possible to increase the likelihood that your case will be processed to completion before the September 30.
If you have filed your petition with USCIS but your case remains documentarily incomplete: We encourage you to provide all missing documents to the National Visa Center (NVC) at your earliest opportunity so that your visa interview can be scheduled.
If you are waiting for your visa interview: Please be sure to bring all required documents with you to your visa interview to avoid processing delays.
If you have completed your interview and your case is pending administrative processing: The Consular Section will contact you when the administrative processing for your case is complete. In the meantime, you may wish to update expired documents. Please check your email regularly for correspondence regarding expired documents, and to ensure that your case can be completed when the administrative processing is complete. If your email address or phone has changed, please inform the Consular Section via our online inquiry form:http://iraq.usembassy.gov/ivform.html.
If your visa is ready for issuance but your family members’ cases are still pending: You may wish to receive your visa and travel to the U.S. ahead of your spouse and children. Please note that while our current authority to issue SIVs to eligible individuals who have been employed on behalf of the U.S. government ends on September 30, this will not restrict our authority to issue SIVs to an eligible spouse or child of an employee, provided the employee either:
Received an SIV on or before September 30, 2013 that has not expired by the time the spouse or child’s visa case is processed, OR
Has already immigrated to the United States.
Who is eligible?
Iraqi nationals who have worked with the U.S. government may be eligible for one of the two Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) programs. Each SIV program has different requirements.
The applicant must have been employed by, or on behalf of the United States Government in Iraq, on or after March 20, 2003, for at least one year.
The applicant must have provided faithful and valuable service to the United States Government, which is documented in a letter of recommendation from the employee’s supervisor that is approved by the Chief of Mission (COM).
The applicant must have experienced or be experiencing an ongoing serious threat as a consequence of his/her employment by the United States Government.
There are other eligibility requirements for this program. For detailed information about the Kennedy program, please visit Travel.state.gov.
The applicant must have worked directly with the U.S. Armed Forces or under Chief of Mission authority as a translator or interpreter for a period of at least one year.
The applicant must have obtained a favorable written recommendation from a General or Flag Officer, or from the Chief of Mission from the Embassy where he/she worked.
IMPORTANT: There is an annual limitation of 50 visas in this category. Given this limit, many individuals opt to apply for the other SIV category. For information about the SIV program for Iraqi and Afghan translators/interpreters, please visit Travel.state.gov.
The Refugee Resettlement Program: Some SIV applicants may also be eligible to apply for the U.S. refugee resettlement program. Refugee processing is handled by a different office within the Embassy – for information on the refugee program coordinated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), please visit the Office of Refugee and Internally Displaced Person Affairs.
How do I apply?
Step One: Obtain Chief of Mission (COM) or a General’s Recommendation: The first step in applying for a Special Immigrant Visa depends on which SIV program you have selected.
If you are applying for the Special Immigrant Visa Program for Iraqis Who Worked for/on Behalf of the U.S. Government (also known as the Kennedy Program), request Chief of Mission approval. Submit a letter of recommendation*, evidence of ongoing serious threat, form DS-157, and other supporting documentation to IraqSIVapplication@state.gov. Read additional details.
If you are applying for the Interpreter/Translator program, obtain a written recommendation* from a General or Flag Officer in your chain of command or from the Chief of Mission from the Embassy where you worked. Read additional information on the requirements of these recommendations.
*Letters of Recommendation: To Facilitate the application process, the Department of State has partnered with the Department of Defense to provide a web-based Supervisor Locator Program for Special Immigrant Visa applicants. This service will help Iraqi nationals who worked with the U.S. military to locate former supervisors and obtain letters of recommendation. For more information on the Supervisor Locator Service, please click here.
Step Two: Filing the petition with USCIS: File the immigrant visa petition (Form I-360) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Department of State has partnered with USCIS to allow electronic submission of the form I-360, the SIV petition. This modification will help to make the process easier, efficient and faster.
SIV applicants who complete the form I-360 may now scan and email it directly to the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) atNSCI360IVAPP@uscis.dhs.gov. The NSC will process the form and upon receipt, will send a receipt to the email address written on the form. If there is no email address submitted with the form, the receipt will be sent electronically to the email address from which the petition was submitted. For more information on the I-360 electronic submission service, please click here.
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The 29th Annual Inaugural Ceremonies
Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of the New York State
Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg
The Mayor of the City of New York
Honorable Richard A. Brown
District Attorney Queens County
Honorable Raymond W. Kelly
Police Commissioner City of New York
The Asian American Council
Michael S. Limb
Together we can become more
Innovative, Adaptive and Creative
In solving today’s problems
Reception committee Co-Chairmen
01) Tomiko Abe Co-Chairman of the Tokyo Chapter of the AAC
02) Dr. Louis Fujimoto Chairman of the Japanese Affairs Committee
03) James Fan Director of the Chinese Affairs Committee
04) David Ignacio, Esq. Chairman of the Filipino Affairs Committee
05) Richie Ian Chairman of the Caribbean Affairs Committee
06) Mohummad Iqubal Chairman of the International Affairs Committee
07) Lisa Su Li Chairman of the Inter Governmental Affairs Committee
08) Young Chul Lee Co-Chairman of the Korean Affairs Queens Committee
09) Qasim Majeed Chairman of the Event Committee
10) Pea Young Ho Co-Chairman of the Korean Business Affairs Committee
11) Jae Hack Sin Co-Chairman of the Korean Business Affairs Committee
12) James Sheng Director of the Chinese Business Affairs Committee
13) Gun Soo Youn Chairman of the Korean Affairs Committee
14) Wu, Kuan He Chairman of the Chinese Business Affairs Queens Committee
15) Oshell Oh Communication Director of the International Affairs Committee
16) Rafael Flores Director of Central America Affair Committee
The Asian American Council
Request the Honor of Your Presence
The Twenty Ninth Annual Inaugural Ceremonies
Anniversary Dinner Reception
Oct. 23rd, 2013
Good Fortune Restaurant (Former East Manor) Banquet Hall
46-45 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, New York 11355
Cocktail Reception at 6:00 P.M.
Official Anniversary Ceremony at 7:00 P.M.
Dinner Reception at 8:00 P.M.
Michael S. Limb
The Asian American Council Website: AsianAmericanCouncil.org