Almost two years ago I began the journey of trying to help my mother in law visit us in the USA. Here was that post for some background info if someone is interested: How to help my mother in law migrate - no lawyer wanted!

Fast forward to December 26, 2016 my mother in law was finally granted her visa and was allowed to come here.

Since it was so late my mother in law had to wrap up some things back in Iraq before coming here. After wrapping up some family matters she went to go purchase a ticket to come here and found out that her visa had expired already?

I didn't believe it since she got the visa December 26, 2016 but sure enough on the visa it had an issue date of December 26, 2016 and an expiration date of February 9, 2017. This gave her only around 40 days to come to the USA.

Her English is not so great so she never really noticed this and I never asked her for a visa copy or print out until today. Now she has an expired visa and she had never left the country of Iraq. I don't know how to proceed as I mentioned it took nearly two years and a lot of money to complete this process. My wife is completely devastated about this as she was expecting to see her mother and show my mother in law her grand kids. We have not seen her in close to 15 years.

What are my next steps now? I am a bit confused on how to proceed. This is an Immigrant Visa based on my wife bringing her mother here. She was planning on coming mid January beginning of February but I told her to hold off due to the Trump policy banning any form of immigration. And now that she wants to come her visa has expired...

  • I will update everyone once I get a response back from the Embassy. It doesn't look like I have to redo everything - at least thats what it looks like so far.
    – JonH
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 17:32

2 Answers 2


Just wanted to update everyone. The process wasn't really that bad. She sent back her visa to the embassy and she didn't necessarily have to reapply for everything. She just needed to retake the medical exam. Mother in law has been here in the US for around 3-4 weeks now!


This is not what you want to hear, but she has to apply for a new visa, document why she was not able to travel while her visa was valid. As a side observation, the immigrant visa validity periods are generally for six months; are you certain that her's was for six weeks?

She will have to return the expired visa and the visa packet to the US Embassy visa section in Baghdad. I would do that without hesitation, and ask for its guidance on her situation, if possible or practical (if may not be).

Immigrant and fiancée visas are normally valid for six months.

Under rare circumstances, we may let you apply for another visa if you cannot travel within the validity of your first visa. You will probaby have to pay all fees again, and may need to obtain a new medical exam. We do not guarantee that we will reissue your visa. You may have to start the entire process over at the beginning, including having to file a new petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

  • I guess I am confused, if it was issued on December 26, of 2016 how could it possibly expire on Feb 9, 2017. That gives her only like 40 days to leave the country. I cannot believe i have to reapply and pay all the fees...this has cost me 1000s upon 1000s of dollars and it took close to two years :(.
    – JonH
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 15:36
  • where do I find the quoted information you posted in yellow background?
    – JonH
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 15:38
  • She sent me a screen photo of her visa. Plus when she went to book a flight today to come here they told her her visa is expired.
    – JonH
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 15:38
  • 2
    The law says an immigrant must enter within 6 months of the interview. If the visa is issued right away after the interview, as is normal, it is good for almost 6 months, but if the case goes into administrative processing for an extended period before the visa issues that shortens the validity period. My visa issued on 08/11 and expired on 08/31.
    – Dennis
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 17:10
  • 1
    @JonH, I wish I knew. Have you looked at the papers that came with the passport and visa pack? I vaguely recall there being an instruction on one of them for what to do in this case (a phone number to call, or something).
    – Dennis
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 17:50

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