9 FAM 203.2

what is a refugee? what is aN asylee?

(CT:VISA-1153;   09-15-2020)
(Office of Origin:  CA/VO)

9 FAM 203.2-1  Refugee

(CT:VISA-786;   05-16-2019)

a. In General:  A refugee is a person who is outside his or her country of origin and is unwilling or unable to return because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution based on:  race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.  Persons who have ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of others are excluded from the refugee definition.

b. Visas 93:  The spouse or child of an approved Form I-730 filed by the principal refugee is often referred to as a follow-to-join refugee (FTJ-R), or a “Visas 93” or V93 beneficiary.

9 FAM 203.2-2  Asylee

(CT:VISA-786;   05-16-2019)

a. In General: An asylee is an alien in the United States or at a port of entry who is found to be unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality, or to seek the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution.  Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.  For persons with no nationality, the country of nationality is considered to be the country in which the alien last habitually resided.  Asylees are eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence in the United States.  These immigrants are limited to 10,000 adjustments per fiscal year.

b. Applying for Asylum:

(1)  Affirmative Application:  With a few exceptions, a person already in the United States may affirmatively apply for asylum irrespective of status. Decisions on whether to grant asylum to persons who have affirmatively filed an asylum application are made by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

(2)  Defensive Application:  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) govern the adjudication of claims for asylum made defensively in removal proceedings before an immigration judge. 

c.  Visas 92: 

(1)  What does Visas 92 mean? The spouse or child of an approved Form I-730 filed by the principal asylee is often referred to as an follow-to-join asylee (FTJ-A), or a “Visas 92” or V92 beneficiary. 

(2)  Discretionary:    A spouse or child is not automatically entitled to the same asylum status as the principal asylee, rather the grant of derivative status is discretionary.  USCIS has excluded from eligibility spouses and children who have committed certain kinds of acts (e.g., persecution, serious crimes) and/or who constitute a danger to the United States, and persons whose relationship to the principal asylee does not meet certain requirements established in furtherance of the “following-to-join” requirement.  Because the grant of status is discretionary, USCIS may also deny VISAS 92 for other reasons.

9 FAM 203.2-3  Consular role in processing follow-to-join asylees and refugees

(CT:VISA-786;   05-16-2019)

a. Consular Officers:  Consular officers, particularly ones at posts without a USCIS presence, are required to assist in processing cases of spouses and children of refugees and persons granted asylum (“asylees”).  Posts with questions about refugee or asylee processing should contact the Office of Field Operations (CA/VO/F), which will coordinate a response with USCIS as appropriate.

b. National Visa CenterThe National Visa Center (NVC) transmits Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition approved by USCIS to consulates overseas. 

c.  More Information: For more information on role of overseas posts see 9 FAM 203.3-2, (U) Overseas Posts.