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USCIS tightens legal marriage requirement for refugee RE-2 derivative spouses

  1. Original Date Announced

    February 14, 2019

    The Refugee Affairs Division issued guidance requiring formal, legal marriages for the purposes of including a spouse as an RE-2 derivative spouse in refugee cases. Previous guidance had allowed informal or unregistered marriages in certain cases where spouses faced challenges in marrying formally and could not easily perfect the marriage.

    [ID #1246]

    2019.02.14 Response to Query: Guidance for the treatment of refugee cases that include an RE-2 derivative spouse
  2. Effective Date

    February 14, 2019
  4. Biden Administration Action: Revoked/Replaced

    February 14, 2022

    2022.02.14 Revised Guidance on Informal (“Camp”) Marriages

    This Biden administration action revokes in its entirety the Trump-era policy in this entry.

    On February 14, 2022, RAIO issued a memorandum rescinding the 2019 guidence on informal ("camp") marriages. The memo states that "RAIO will instead return to the prior interpretation of the place-of-celebration rule, recognizing that, in certain circumstances, a spousal relationship may exist for the purpose of obtaining derivative refugee and/ or asylee status if there is evidence of an informal marriage."

    View Document

Current Status

Not in effect
February 14, 2022
Acted on by Biden Administration

Original Trump Policy Status

Status: Final/Actual
Trump Administration Actions: Agency Directive Change in Practice
Subject Matter: Refugees
Agencies Affected: USCIS


Trump-Era Policy Documents

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