Kurt Vize is returning from the US.
The 28-year-old, who fled his homeland in 2014 after he was beaten by Serb soldiers in the northern Bosnian town of Zagreb, is back in the US on a non-immigrant visa, a step he said he is not taking because of his fear of retaliation from the Serbs.
“It’s not worth it for me,” Vise said, sitting in the shade of a small cafe in the small town of Lefkovo, where he and his wife, Svetlana, are staying in an Airbnb home in the state of Washington.
Vise, who came to the United States in 2012, arrived on a tourist visa in 2014, and applied for the same one in November.
The visa expires in May 2020, but he has applied for it every year.
Visa application processKurt Vise with his wife Svetlovna, both of whom are US citizens.
“I have a visa and I have to get it renewed every year,” Vize said.
“My husband and I can live in Washington but I can’t live here.”
Vise and his fellow refugees who are not on a visa are eligible for a US travel visa to travel to the country, and Vise is one of five who applied.
The other two are the families of a woman who survived a Bosnian war and another family of a survivor of a Serbian massacre.
The family of Svetlo, who escaped from Zagrebos military base in December 2014, has already applied for a visa for the US to bring their son home, and the other four families are waiting for their visa to expire.
“If the visa is renewed I think I can come to the USA,” Viser told Al Jazeera.
Viser, who was one of the first people to come to Lefkevo, has since become an American citizen, and now lives in the Seattle area.
He hopes to get the necessary documents in the next two weeks to travel back to his homeland.
Vising is part of a group of refugees who have been waiting for months to be allowed to leave Zagrub.
They were originally granted a nonimmigrant visa but have not been able to get one.
The government has made it easier for refugees to obtain visas to leave the country because the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, has been unable to process the applications due to a lack of resources.
However, UNHCR officials said that it is still not possible to verify the identities of all refugees.
“We can’t say who they are, but we can say they are not eligible for asylum in the United Kingdom,” said UNHCR spokesman Patrick Moorhead.