The US has not had any diplomatic presence in Yemen since 11 Feb 2015. All diplomatic personnel were physically relocated outside the country. The resulting diplomatic vacuum has made pending immigrant visa applications and interviews difficult to coordinate. Recently, USCIS is almost universally issuing requests for evidence (RFE) if a Petitioner only submits birth certificates and marriage contracts without additional documentation and proof of the marriage or familial relationship. This most commonly can be done by submitting additional documents and undergoing DNA testing from an AABB approved lab. However, at this moment, no DNA testing can be done inside Yemen for obvious reasons: the colossal humanitarian disaster that is in the making.
Recently, the consulate in Djibouti is now scheduling and processing immigrant visa applications and interviews for Yemenis without requiring the applicant to be physically present in Djibouti. This means your relative can schedule his or her interview before departing Yemen and arriving in Djibouti for the interview. Many Yemenis who are waiting for their interview were not able to afford housing in Djibouti while waiting for the interview. Coordinating DNA testing is still a challenge, but this new policy should help with the housing expense for Yemenis waiting for an immigrant visa interview. Below is the latest from the IV Yemen website at the Department of state:
Information for Yemeni Citizens Applying for Petition-Based Immigrant Visas
Updated April 28, 2016
Beginning with appointments in June 2016, the U.S. Department of State is scheduling immigrant visa appointments for Yemeni applicants at the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti instead of the U.S. Embassy in Algeria in order to prevent delays and move more applicants to the interview stage. The U.S. Embassy in Djibouti no longer requires applicants to be physically present in the country prior to transferring their case. Interviews are being scheduled in order of the date the case became documentarily qualified and eligible for scheduling.
The U.S. Department of State previously scheduled visa interviews for Yemeni citizens in Algiers; however, as of March 23, 2016, the Government of Algeria requires Yemeni nationals to have a visa to enter Algeria. While some applicants have successfully obtained Algerian visas, this is preventing many applicants from attending interviews scheduled at the U.S. Embassy in Algiers. There is additional information on the U.S. Embassy in Algiers’s website.
If your relative has a pending case from Yemen and you have questions about what to do next with his/her case, please contact my office to see if we can help. We have been coordinating DNA testing for other Yemeni clients when such testing has been requested from USCIS. In the absence of other documents, DNA testing may be your only option to overcome a RFE and have your relative’s case move forward to the interview stage in Djibouti.
James P. Tinsley, Esq., 143 C Willowbrook Drive, Saltillo, MS 38866. (662) 350-3971; firstname.lastname@example.org