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Just how hard is it to secure refugee or asylee status for a relative? - II

Previously, we started discussing how those people granted refugee or asylee status here in the U.S. may be able to help their loved ones secure this same relief from persecution or other dangerous conditions in their home countries.

Specifically, we started discussing the mechanism through which this can be accomplished: the filing of the Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition or the Form I-730.

Today's post will continue this discussion about helping relatives -- spouses or unmarried children who were less than 21 at the time the petitioner was granted relief -- secure derivative refugee or asylee status.

Can you file the Form I-730 for a spouse if you get married after gaining refugee or asylee status?

No. You can only file the Form I-730 for a spouse to whom you were married before gaining refugee or asylee status. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials, however, advise those in these situations to consider speaking with a legal professional, as there may be other viable immigration options available.

If a spouse or child is granted derivative refugee or asylee status, are they able to file the Form I-730 on behalf of other relatives?

No. Anyone granted refugee or asylee status via the Form I-730 cannot turn around and use this same mechanism to assist other relatives.

What happens if USCIS approves the Form I-730?

If USCIS approves the Form I-730, the steps taken depend upon the physical location of the relative for whom derivative refugee or asylee status was secured.

If they are located here in the U.S., the agency will mail an approval notice to the petitioner indicating its decision and outlining the next steps for the relative to take to complete the process.

If the relative is located outside the U.S., USCIS will forward the approval notice and petition to the U.S. Embassy or consulate in closest proximity to your relative. Officials there will then notify them of the next steps, including the need to secure travel authorization for entering the U.S.

Consider speaking with a skilled attorney to learn more about your rights and your options relating to refugee or asylum-related matters.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "How do I help my relative get refugee or asylee status in the United States?" Accessed Feb. 4, 2015

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