Is the Priority 2 refugee program the same as the SIV program?

Some background about this question:

  • No, the Priority 2 refugee program is not the same as the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program.
  • SIV Program:
    • The SIV Program is not part of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP)
    • Who is eligible for the SIV program?
      • Iraqi nationals who supported the U.S. Armed Forces or Chief of Mission authority as translators or interpreters, or Iraqi nationals who were or are employed by or on behalf of the U.S. Government in Iraq on or after March 20, 2003, for a period of at least one year may be eligible for SIV processing.
    • Although the SIV program is separate from the USRAP, certain Iraqi SIV recipients are eligible for the same resettlement assistance, entitlement programs, and other benefits as refugees admitted under the refugee program.1
  • USRAP Priority 2 – Group Referrals:
    • Priority 2 includes specific groups  identified by the Department of State  as being in need of resettlement because they face unique threats to their wellbeing.
    • In FY 2011, Iraqis inside Iraq and outside Iraq who fall into the Priority 2 group designation,”Iraqis Associated with the United States” can be processed as refugees.
    • The following individuals and their immediate families (spouse and unmarried children under age 21), with verifiable proof of employment, may seek access:
      • 1.         Iraqis who work/worked on a full-time basis as interpreters/translators for the U.S. Government (USG) or Multi-National Forces (MNF-I) in Iraq.
      • 2.         Iraqis who are/were employed by the USG in Iraq.
      • 3.         Iraqis who are/were employees of an organization or entity closely associated with the U.S. mission in Iraq that has received USG funding through an official and documented contract, award, grant or cooperative agreement.
      • 4.         Iraqis who are/were employed in Iraq by a U.S.-based media organization or non-governmental organization.
      • 5.         Spouses, sons, daughters, parents and siblings of individuals described in the four categories above, or of an individual eligible for a Special Immigrant Visa as a result of his/her employment by or on behalf of the USG in Iraq, including if the individual is no longer alive, provided that the relationship is verified.
      • 6.         Iraqis who are the spouses, sons, daughters, parents, brothers or sisters of a citizen of the United States, or who are the spouses or unmarried sons or daughters of a Permanent Resident Alien of the United States, as established by their being or becoming beneficiaries of approved family-based I-130 Immigrant Visa Petitions.


  1. USCIS, Fact Sheet- Iraqi Refugee Processing. []

One more idea:

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  • Good Afternoon,

    I have a question on about how long USRAP Priority 2 – Group Referrals. What is the estimated wait time if approved.


    Answer shared by Souad Alchalabi — December 16, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

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