- International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) – https://refugeerights.org
- IRAP provides legal resources for Afghan refugees, including a series of guides detailing the eligibility requirements and application process for Humanitarian Parole, Special Immigrant Visas (SIV), and Afghan P-2 refugee program.
- Human Rights First - https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/
- Provides services for asylum-seeking clients as well as resources on ways to protect your online identity from the Taliban.
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) - https://www.lirs.org
- Provides assistance to refugees and SIV applicants and offers 33 resettlement offices around the country.
- PARS Equality Center - https://parsequalitycenter.org
- Provides immigration legal services and social services for refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers.
- No One Left Behind - https://nooneleft.org
- Provides assistance to applicants in applying for SIV and resettlement once in the U.S.
- Afghan Coalition - https://www.afghancoalition.org
- Provides legal assistance to those currently located in Afghanistan as well as social services to those in the U.S.
Potential Humanitarian Immigration Options
PLEASE NOTE ALL VISAS MUST CURRENTLY BE PROCESSED OUTSIDE OF AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ
- Special Immigrant Visa (SIV)
- Employed directly by U.S. government in Afghanistan for at least 1 year OR employed with company that had a contract or subcontract with U.S. government (employment less than 1 year or for company that had grant or cooperative agreement is NOT eligible for SIV > please see P-2 refugee)
- Requires submission of letter of recommendation from direct U.S. Citizen supervisor
- Requires submission of HR letter confirming years of employment and evidence of employer’s U.S. Government contract, if applicable.
- Must demonstrate ongoing threat to safety because of employment with U.S. government
- Chief of Mission (COM) application to verify qualifying employment (see state.gov/content/dam/visas/SIVs/Afghan_SIV_Guidelines_and_DS157_Instructions_08-24-2021.pdf);
- File I-360 petition with USCIS;
- Complete DS-260 Visa Application;
- Attend interview and complete security checks;
- Visa issuance and travel to U.S. – eligible for refugee benefits.
- Family Members
- Spouse and minor unmarried children may obtain SIV status as derivatives.
- Automatically become Lawful Permanent Resident upon entering U.S. in SIV status.
- USRAP P-1 Refugee – Individual Referral
- Must be referred/submitted by UNHCR, embassy, or designated NGO
- Lengthy, complex process with Department of State
- Not much transparency to process
- USRAP P-2 Refugee – Group Referral
- Employment for U.S. government-funded program or project supported through a U.S. government grant or cooperative agreement; U.S.-based media organization or NGO (employment with subcontractors or subgrantee is not eligible for P-2)
- Requires referral from senior-most U.S. citizen employee at qualifying employment
- Must be referred/submitted by employer
- Security checks;
- Visa interview and pre-screening;
- USCIS adjudication;
- Travel to U.S. – no refugee assistance available.
- Family Members
- Spouse and children (whether married or unmarried) may obtain P-2 refugee status as derivative
- Can apply for Adjustment of Status to become Lawful Permanent Resident 1 year after entering U.S. in P-2 Refugee status.
- Humanitarian Parole
- Must demonstrate urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reason for beneficiary to be in the U.S.
- Must have Financial Sponsor who is at least 18 years of age and either a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident in the U.S.
- File Form I-131 Application for Travel Document and Form I-134 Affidavit of Support with USCIS;
- USCIS Adjudication;
- Complete DS-160 Visa Application;
- Attend interview;
- Advance Parole document issued and travel to U.S. – provides temporary status; no automatic refugee benefits.
Potential Family-Based Immigration Options
- Family Reunification for Refugee, Asylee or SIV in the U.S.
- Follow to Join – I-730
- An individual currently in the U.S. who entered as Refugee or SIV or obtained Asylee status within last 2 years can petition on behalf of:
- Unmarried children
- USRAP P-3 Refugee
- An individual currently in the U.S. who entered as Refugee, Asylee, or SIV within last 5 years can petition on behalf of:
- Unmarried children
- Family must be located outside of Afghanistan
- Family-based Immigrant Visa
- Immediate relative of U.S. Citizen;
- Unmarried child under age 21
- Other Relative of U.S. Citizen;
- Unmarried child age 21+ of U.S. Citizen
- Married child of U.S. Citizen
- Brother or sister of U.S. Citizen
- Family member of Lawful Permanent Resident
- Spouse of LPR
- Unmarried child under age 21
- Unmarried child age 21+
- Consular Processing Steps for Those Outside U.S.
- File I-130 Immigrant Petition with USCIS
- USCIS Adjudication
- National Visa Center Processing
- Immigrant Visa Interview
- Visa Issuance
Potential Student and Employment-Based Visa Options:
A variety of student and employment-based visa options are available, and may offer much faster processing than the humanitarian options outlined above. Some of the most popular options include:
- F-1 Student Visa
- Must be accepted for enrollment at an SEVP-approved school in the U.S.
- H-1B Specialty Occupation
- Offer of U.S. employment which requires minimum of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a related field;
- Only immediately available to those who have been counted against the CAP in the last 6 years and has not been outside of the U.S. for more than 1 year OR to those whose offer of employment is from a cap-exempt organization.
- L-1 Intracompany Transferee
- Offer of U.S. employment in a managerial or specialized knowledge role;
- Employed for at least 1 year by a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate company abroad in a managerial or specialized knowledge role.
General Resources About the Refugee Process
- Infographic: The Screening Process for Refugee Entry into the United States: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2015/11/20/infographic-screening-process-refugee-entry-united-states?fbclid=IwAR1PopXlOcnKq6b0vEkbdfgdXrb5xjwYEjAVFiFqBc9QIaLgOXbZ0QbdPqc
- Figures at a Glance on Globally Displaced Population: https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a-glance.html
- “Refugee Vetting 101”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVHdu4Br3Ds&t=1s (1.5 min)
- 5 min video “What does it mean to be a refugee?”: https://ed.ted.com/lessons/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-refugee-benedetta-berti-and-evelien-borgman (5 min)
- Refugees need facts as well as food: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/04/13/refugees-greece-eu-turkey-camps-facts-column/82942244/?fbclid=IwAR0nCsEY1TdCHxAUxP3KSGnbE6gXIC1GPhEHDSY6LUood7bCXt8DaLfbmcM
Download as PDF: HERE
This resource was created by Attorney, Nikki Whetstone.