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Afghan Refugee Resources

Organizations:

  • 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.
    • resettlement@lirs.org
  • 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.

Legal Representation:

Evacuation Assistance:

Potential Humanitarian Immigration Options

PLEASE NOTE ALL VISAS MUST CURRENTLY BE PROCESSED OUTSIDE OF AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ

  • Special Immigrant Visa (SIV)
    • Eligibility
      • 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
    • Steps
      • 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
    • Eligibility
      • 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
    • Steps
      • 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
    • Eligibility
      • 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.
    • Steps
      • 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:
        • Spouse
        • 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:
          • Spouse
          • Unmarried children
          • Parents
        • Family must be located outside of Afghanistan
      • Family-based Immigrant Visa
        • Eligibility
          • Immediate relative of U.S. Citizen;
            • Spouse
            • Unmarried child under age 21
            • Parent
          • 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

  1. 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
  2. Figures at a Glance on Globally Displaced Population: https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a-glance.html
  3. “Refugee Vetting 101”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVHdu4Br3Ds&t=1s (1.5 min)
  4. 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)
  5. 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.

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