URGENT NOTICE for Jewish and Other Religious Minorities Applying for Refugee Status from Iran and the Former Soviet Union (FSU)

Posted on Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 13:15 pm

Russian Translation

Farsi Translation

On Friday, April 15, 2011 President Obama signed into law the Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1473) which funds the U.S. government until September 30, 2011. This new law, however, also contains an extension of the Lautenberg Amendment to help Jewish and certain other religious minorities applying for refugee status from Iran and the former Soviet Union but only for applications received by the US Refugee Program in Moscow and Vienna by June 1, 2011.

As before, for the Vienna program, members of Iranian religious minorities with sponsors in the United States are eligible to apply. Also as before, for the Moscow program, Jews and Evangelical Christians with first-degree relatives in the United States are eligible to apply. “First Degree relatives” means parents, spouse, children, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren.

Please be advised that while refugee processing has been in place for many years for both of these populations, there is a good possibility that it will not be extended after June 1, 2011. Therefore, anyone serious about applying must have their application received by the U.S. Refugee Program in Moscow or Vienna by June 1, 2011.

Further instructions will be posted as HIAS receives more specific guidance from the Department of State regarding deadlines and any adjustments to streamline filing procedures. If you or your family are interested in filing an application, do not delay in contacting a local refugee resettlement agency (or in New York City or Long Island, the main HIAS office) to initiate an application. If you do not know how to contact your local resettlement agency, please call HIAS at 1-800-HIAS-714 or correspondence@hias.org.

If you are interested in preparing an application for your relatives, or have any questions about this process, please contact your local refugee resettlement agency. In New York, you may contact HIAS at 212-216-7697. From outside of New York, you may call HIAS at 1-800-HIAS-714 (1-800-442-7714).