How to Request Reconsideration for Informal or Camp Marriages
Instructions on How to Request Reconsideration of a Denied Form I-590, Registration for Classification as Refugee, or Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, Based on Recognition of Informal Marriage for Derivative Refugee or Asylee Status
USCIS’ Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Directorate (RAIO) issued guidance (PDF, 997.34 KB) effective Feb. 14, 2022, stating that for the purposes of adjudicating a pending or newly filed Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal; Form I-590, Registration for Classification as Refugee; or Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, a USCIS officer, in certain circumstances, may recognize a derivative refugee or asylee if there is evidence of an informal marriage.
You must provide evidence that you and your spouse could not have your marriage legally recognized in the place of celebration as a result of your flight from persecution and circumstances beyond your control, or due to restrictive laws or practices in your country of origin or country of first asylum. You must also provide evidence that you had an informal marriage. This evidence of an informal marriage could include, but is not limited to:
- A marriage ceremony;
- Cohabitation over a period of time;
- Children born from your union; or
- Presenting yourselves as spouses over a period of time.
This webpage explains how you can request review of certain previously denied Form I-590 applications or Form I-730 petitions. (Note that RAIO’s previous guidance in 2018 and 2019 did not apply to Form I-589 applications.)
Additionally, USCIS will accept Form I-730 petitions filed outside the 2-year filing limitation in accordance with these instructions.
Denied Form I-590 Applications
If you filed a Form I-590 that USCIS denied between Jan. 29, 2018, and Feb. 14, 2022, solely on the basis that evidence of an informal marriage was insufficient to establish a qualifying relationship, you may submit a Request for Review (RFR). USCIS will consider any RFR from a Form I-590 applicant accordingly. Based on the recent policy change, you may file an RFR outside of the 90-day window following a denial, and file a new RFR even if you previously filed an RFR on a different basis.
There is no fee to submit an RFR. Follow normal filing procedures to submit the RFR. Per these procedures, your RFR should clearly state and address the reasons we originally denied your Form I-590.
If you have questions about whether you should file an RFR in accordance with this instruction, contact the Resettlement Support Center (RSC) that assisted you with your refugee application.
Denied Form I-730 Petitions
If you filed a Form I-730 on behalf of your spouse that we denied between Feb. 14, 2019, and Feb. 14, 2022, solely on the basis that evidence of an informal marriage was insufficient to establish a qualifying relationship, you may submit a Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, to review a Form I-730. We will reconsider any such Form I-730 petition in accordance with this guidance. See 8 C.F.R. §103.5. Based on the recent policy change, a petitioner may file a Form I-290B outside the 30-day window following a denial (or 33 calendar days, if the decision was mailed).
There is a fee for the Form I-290B, but you may be eligible to file a fee waiver.
For further information on filing a Form I-730, please see the instructions at the Form I-730 webpage.