The Lautenberg Amendment, first enacted in 1990 to facilitate the resettlement of Jews from the former Soviet Union, has allowed HIAS to bring tens of thousands of refugees to safety. As the worldwide refugee situation changed, the Lautenberg Amendment, originally proposed by Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey, was later expanded to include persecuted religious minorities in other countries, such as Jews, Christians, Baha’is, Sabaean-Mandaeans, and Zoroastrians from Iran. Despite being a crucial part of U.S. refugee policy, the amendment expires each year and must be reauthorized.
This program allows certain individuals legally residing in the United States to apply to bring eligible family members and friends to the U.S. To access the program, qualifying individuals who legally reside in the U.S. must apply for family members and friends through a resettlement agency in their area; applications will only be considered if they come through a local resettlement office.
Because HIAS’ Silver Spring and New York offices are not resettlement offices, those offices cannot help individuals apply to the Lautenberg program or discuss any case information.
The Lautenberg program was reauthorized for the 2023 fiscal year on January 30, 2023. The official deadline to apply for this program is September 30, 2023, but resettlement offices may have earlier internal deadlines. If you plan to apply, HIAS encourages you to reach out to a resettlement office as soon as possible.
Former Soviet Union (FSU)
Applicants from the former Soviet Union must have a close family member in the United States with permanent immigration status to qualify. Close relatives of qualified applicants will be able to initiate their refugee applications by filing an Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) through a local resettlement office.
Applicants in Iran must have relatives or friends in the United States with permanent immigration status. Relatives or friends of eligible applicants will be able to initiate refugee applications on their behalf by submitting Refugee Information Forms (RIFs) through a local resettlement office.
If you are an Iranian applicant to the Lautenberg program, or a U.S.-based relative or a friend (also known as a U.S. Tie), and wish to inquire about a case status, please reach out to the local resettlement office through which the original application was submitted. You can also contact RSC Austria at firstname.lastname@example.org, making sure to include your case number (IR-00xxxxxx) in the subject line. Do not include any personal information in emails to this inbox.
Please be aware that HIAS does not provide consultations on general immigration questions or on immigration options to the U.S. HIAS cannot assist in obtaining tourist or work visas. If you still have questions, please view our Frequently Asked Questions or contact email@example.com.