Green Card for an Iraqi Who Was Employed by or on behalf of the U.S. Government

The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes special immigrant status for Iraqi nationals who have been employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq on or after March 20, 2003, for a period of not less than one year and who have experienced or are experiencing an ongoing serious threat as a consequence of that employment. The total number of principal aliens who may receive special immigrant status under this section cannot exceed 5,000 per year for five successive fiscal years beginning with fiscal year 2008. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, section 1218 of Pub. L. 113-66 (PDF) extended the program, allowing for an additional 2,500 visas to be approved any time after that date.

Refer to section 1244 of Pub. L. 110-181 (PDF), the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, as amended by Pub. L. 110–242 (PDF) for the complete law.

For more information on this program, see the USCIS Policy Manual.

Eligibility Criteria for Adjustment of Status

You may be eligible for adjustment of status if:

  • You were admitted or paroled as a nonimmigrant into the United States;
  • You are physically present in the United States;
  • You have an approved Form I-360 under section 1244 (as an Iraqi employed by or on behalf of the United States government);
  • There is a visa immediately available for you at the time you file Form I-485. (This occurs when your priority date for your immigrant category is current. For more information, visit our Visa Availability and Priority Dates page and the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin page.); and
  • You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or are eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief.

If you entered the United States as a refugee, you cannot adjust status as an Iraqi who was employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government. You must apply as a refugee. For more information, see our Green Card for a Refugee page.

Application Process

To obtain a Green Card as an Iraqi who was employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government the U.S. government, whether you live inside or outside the United States, you must first file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. For more information, see our Form I-360 page.

If You Live Outside the United States

If we approve your Form I-360, we will forward the approved petition to the Department of State for consular processing of the special immigrant visa. For more information, see our Consular Processing page.

If You Live Inside the United States

If we approve your Form I-360 and you did not enter the United States on a special immigrant visa, you must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to obtain a Green Card through adjustment of status.

Bars to Adjustment

Unless exempt, you are ineligible for adjustment of status if any of the bars to adjustment listed in section 245(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) apply to you.

You may be exempt from some of the bars to adjustment and eligible to adjust status even if you:

  • Are now employed or have ever been employed in the United States without authorization;
  • Are not in lawful immigration status on the date you file your application;
  • Failed to continuously maintain your lawful status since entry into the United States; or
  • Have ever violated the terms of a nonimmigrant visa after admission to the United States as a nonimmigrant.
Grounds of Inadmissibility

If you are inadmissible to the United States, you cannot adjust to lawful permanent resident status. You can find the grounds of inadmissibility listed in INA 212(a).

If you apply for lawful permanent resident status as a special immigrant Iraqi, these grounds of inadmissibility do not apply to you:

If you are inadmissible based on other grounds listed in INA 212(a), you may be eligible for a waiver or other form of relief. If we grant your waiver application or other form of relief, we may approve your application to adjust status.

You can learn more about waivers and other forms of relief by reading the instructions for Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, and Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal.

Supporting Evidence for Form I0485

See the Checklist of Required Initial Evidence section of our Form I-485 page to see what evidence you must submit.

Work and Travel Authorization

Generally, when you have a pending Form I-485, it is possible for you to apply for authorization to work in the United States and to seek advance parole (advance permission to travel and be admitted to the United States upon your return). For more information, see our Employment Authorization and Travel Documents pages.

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