This guide is for U.S.-based family members of Syrian and Iraqi nationals who want to help their relatives move to the U.S. You may be eligible for other refugee and asylee family reunification options. Information about the I-730 program is here, the P-3 program is here, and the I-130 program is here.
Some Iraqis and Syrians can apply directly for resettlement in the U.S. through the Direct Access Program (DAP). Information from the U.S. government about the Direct Access Program is here in English. Information from the U.S. government about the Direct Access Program is here in Arabic.
Your relative might be eligible for this option if:
- They are a Syrian or Iraqi national, and
- They are afraid of serious harm in their country of origin because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, and
- They live in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel/the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, or the United Arab Emirates, and
- You are:
- Their spouse and a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR, or “green card holder”), OR
- Their child, at least 21 years old, and a U.S. citizen, OR
- Their sibling, at least 21 years old, and a U.S. citizen, OR
- Their parent and a U.S. citizen, OR
- Their parent and an LPR, if your child is not married.
If your relative is approved, your relative's spouse and any unmarried children who are under 21 years of age may also travel as part of their case file.
To start the process, you must file a Form I-130. U.S. citizens and LPRs use this form to help certain family members move to the U.S. IRAP’s guide about the I-130 process is here. For Syrians and Iraqis only, an approved I-130 also lets your relative apply for U.S. refugee resettlement. In some cases, this may be faster than family-based immigration.
Applying to DAP does not guarantee that your relative will be resettled. Your relative will go through interviews, medical checks, and security checks like other refugees.
How to Apply for Family-Based DAP
Step 1: Filing the I-130 and Receiving Approval
You must file the I-130 to start the process. IRAP’s guide about how to file the I-130 and how to ask for faster processing is here.
Step 2: Applying for Refugee Resettlement
After the I-130 petition is approved, there are two ways your relative can come to the U.S. The first is family-based immigration. The second is refugee resettlement.
When the I-130 is approved, the U.S. State Department will send you several documents. You should complete and return them to the Refugee Processing Center at ContactInfo@wrapsnet.org to start your relative’s refugee resettlement case. It may take several months after the I-130 approval to open the refugee case.
Your relative will then wait for interviews to decide whether they are a refugee under U.S. law. IRAP’s guide on preparing for U.S. refugee interviews is here. After interviews they will also have security and medical checks. This process can take several years.
Your relative can apply for family immigration and refugee resettlement at the same time. In some cases, refugee resettlement will be faster than the family immigration process. The timeline depends on your individual case. If your relative’s refugee case is denied, they will keep their place in line for a family-based visa unless they are found to be inadmissible to the United States.
You or your relative may want to ask an immigration attorney for help with this process. Here are a few resources:
- Information about asking for help from IRAP is here.
- If you are in Jordan, you can ask for IRAP Jordan’s help using this form. If the form is closed, you can check back at a later date.
- A list of free immigration legal service providers in the United States is available here.
- A list of private immigration attorneys in the United States is available here.