USCIS Establishes Overseas Offices in Qatar and Turkey to Enhance Refugee Processing in the Middle East

Updated: Jun 14, 2024 | Tags: Middle East Immigration, International Field Offices, USCIS Refugee Processing

USCIS Establishes Overseas Offices in Qatar and Turkey to Enhance Refugee Processing in the Middle East

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced the opening of new Overseas Offices in Qatar and Turkey . These offices aim to enhance the agency's ability to process refugee applications and other immigration-related services in the Middle East. 

The new field offices are strategically significant, as they will serve as key regional hubs for refugee processing, aiding in the Biden-Harris administration's efforts to meet the refugee admissions ceiling for the fiscal year 2024.


The opening of the USCIS field offices in Qatar and Turkey comes at a critical time, given the current refugee situation in the region. The Biden-Harris administration has set a refugee admissions ceiling of 125,000 for the fiscal year 2024, reflecting a commitment to addressing global humanitarian needs. 

Qatar and Turkey are key in this context due to their geographical and political significance, serving as major hubs for regional refugee processing.

These countries already host substantial presences of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

The integration of USCIS field offices within these existing frameworks is expected to streamline operations, improve coordination, and enhance the overall efficiency of refugee processing efforts in the Middle East.

Doha Field Office

The USCIS field office in Doha will be located at the U.S. embassy facility at Camp As Sayliyah. This location is strategically chosen to facilitate access and ensure the security of operations.

The Doha office will offer periodic public appointments at the U.S. Embassy in Qatar, enhancing its accessibility to individuals seeking refugee processing and other immigration services.

The Doha field office is set to officially open on May 7, 2024. This establishment marks a significant step in expanding the USCIS's capacity to process refugee applications and support family reunification efforts in the region.

By setting up the office in Qatar, USCIS aims to leverage the country's strategic position and existing infrastructure to better serve the needs of refugees and asylum seekers in the Middle East.

Ankara Field Office

The new USCIS field office in Ankara will be situated within the U.S. Embassy Ankara. This office is strategically placed to benefit from the proximity to the Resettlement Support Center for Turkey and the Middle East headquarters, as well as PRM refugee coordinators and the UNHCR regional office in Turkey.

This integration aims to foster a more cohesive and efficient refugee processing system in the region.

The Ankara field office is scheduled to open on May 9, 2024. This new office will play a crucial role in supporting the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program's infrastructure and capacity in Turkey, a key location for refugee processing. 

By enhancing its presence in Turkey, USCIS aims to improve service delivery, strengthen partnerships, and support the resettlement efforts for refugees in the Middle East.

USCIS Staff Responsibilities

The USCIS staff at the new field offices in Qatar and Turkey will undertake several critical responsibilities to support refugee processing and related immigration services. One of their primary duties will be processing Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition. 

This form allows individuals who have been granted refugee or asylee status in the United States to petition for their qualifying relatives to join them. The efficient processing of these petitions is essential for facilitating family reunifications and supporting the humanitarian mission of the USCIS.

In addition to processing petitions, USCIS staff will assist with fraud detection-related activities to ensure the integrity of the refugee admissions process. They will also provide limited services by appointment only, ensuring that their efforts are focused and effective. 

These responsibilities highlight the crucial role that the new field offices will play in enhancing the USCIS's ability to manage and support refugee and asylum-related activities in the Middle East.

Significance of the New Field Offices

The establishment of the USCIS field offices in Qatar and Turkey significantly increases the agency's capacity for refugee processing in the Middle East. By enhancing on-the-ground resources and infrastructure, these offices will expedite the processing of refugee applications and support the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program's goals. 

This expansion is crucial for addressing the growing refugee needs in the region and meeting the administration's refugee admissions targets.

Furthermore, the new field offices will strengthen strategic partnerships with regional and international organizations, such as the PRM and UNHCR. This collaboration will facilitate interagency cooperation and improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of refugee resettlement efforts. 

By reinforcing the infrastructure for refugee processing, the USCIS aims to provide more robust support for refugees and asylums, ensuring a safer, more orderly migration process and bolstering the United States' commitment to humanitarian assistance.

USCIS International Presence

With the opening of the new field offices in Doha and Ankara, the total number of USCIS international field offices will increase, further extending the agency's global reach. 

These additions will enhance the USCIS's ability to provide immigration services and support to individuals worldwide, ensuring that the agency can effectively manage its international responsibilities. 

This expansion underscores the USCIS's commitment to addressing global migration challenges and improving access to immigration services for those in need.

Currently, USCIS operates several other international field offices in key locations across the globe, including countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. These offices play a vital role in managing immigration petitions, conducting fraud detection and prevention activities, and facilitating family reunification efforts. 

By maintaining a strong international presence, the USCIS ensures that its services are accessible to individuals regardless of their location, reinforcing its mission to uphold the integrity of the U.S. immigration system and support lawful migration.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the new field offices in Qatar and Turkey present significant opportunities, they also come with challenges. One primary challenge is ensuring the security and safety of USCIS staff and applicants in regions with varying degrees of political stability. 

Additionally, the logistical complexities of setting up and maintaining these offices in foreign countries require careful coordination with local authorities and international organizations.

On the other hand, these challenges present opportunities for the USCIS to innovate and enhance its operations. By leveraging technology and building stronger partnerships with local and international agencies, USCIS can develop more efficient processes and improve service delivery.

The presence of these field offices also allows for greater cultural understanding and collaboration, ultimately benefiting the broader mission of refugee and immigration support.

Training and Support for USCIS Staff

To ensure the success of the new field offices, USCIS will implement comprehensive training programs for its staff. These programs will cover a wide range of topics, including refugee and asylum law, fraud detection techniques, cultural sensitivity, and local regulations. 

By equipping staff with the necessary knowledge and skills, USCIS aims to provide high-quality service and support to applicants.

In addition to initial training, USCIS will offer ongoing support and professional development opportunities for its staff. This includes regular updates on policy changes, access to resources and tools, and opportunities for further education and training. 

By investing in the continuous development of its workforce, USCIS ensures that its staff remains well-prepared to handle the complexities of refugee processing and other immigration-related tasks.

Community and Stakeholder Engagement

The new field offices will also focus on building strong relationships with local communities and stakeholders. This involves engaging with community leaders, non-governmental organizations, and other relevant parties to understand the unique needs and challenges of the refugee population in the region. 

By fostering open communication and collaboration, USCIS aims to create a supportive environment for refugees and asylum seekers.

USCIS values the input and feedback of its stakeholders and will implement mechanisms to gather and respond to this feedback. Regular consultations, surveys, and feedback sessions will be conducted to ensure that the services provided meet the needs of the community. 

This proactive approach to stakeholder engagement will help USCIS continuously improve its operations and better serve the refugee population in Qatar and Turkey.

Future Plans and Expansion

Looking ahead, USCIS is exploring the possibility of opening additional international field offices in other strategic locations. This potential expansion aims to further enhance the agency's global reach and ability to process refugee and immigration applications efficiently. 

By identifying key regions with high refugee populations and significant immigration needs, USCIS can continue to improve its service delivery and support for vulnerable populations worldwide.

The long-term vision of USCIS includes not only increasing its physical presence internationally but also leveraging technology to streamline processes and improve accessibility. Initiatives such as virtual appointments, digital application processing, and enhanced communication platforms are being considered to provide more flexible and responsive services. 

This forward-thinking approach ensures that USCIS remains adaptable and effective in addressing the evolving challenges of global migration and refugee resettlement.


The new USCIS field offices in Qatar and Turkey mark a significant step forward in the agency's efforts to enhance refugee processing and support family reunification in the Middle East. These offices will play a crucial role in meeting the Biden-Harris administration's refugee admissions targets, facilitating safe, lawful, and orderly migration. 

By expanding its presence in this strategically important region, USCIS underscores its commitment to addressing global humanitarian needs and supporting those seeking refuge and asylum.

The potential impact of these new field offices is substantial, promising improved efficiency in refugee processing and stronger strategic partnerships with regional and international organizations. 

As USCIS continues to expand its global reach, the agency remains dedicated to upholding its mission of providing essential immigration services and support, reinforcing the United States' commitment to humanitarian assistance and the protection of vulnerable populations worldwide.

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