What is the new “P-2” program?
The P2-program is a new refugee resettlement program from the US government for specific categories of Afghan nationals.
Am I eligible?
You are eligible to be considered for resettlement under the P-2 program if you are an Afghan who currently works, or have previously worked:
- For a US-based NGO
- For a US-based media organization
- On a U.S. government grant or cooperative agreement, even if you were not directly employed by a U.S.-based organization.
- For a contractor for the U.S. government
- As an interpreter or translator for the U.S. Government, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A), ISAF, or Resolute Support
The P-2 program is designed for Afghan nationals who are not eligible for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) and unlike SIV, there is no minimum length of employment to be eligible.
What else do I need to know about eligibility?
The P-2 program is part of the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), which means that you will have to be found admissible as a refugee under US immigration law.
My situation is urgent. How quickly can I leave through the P-2 process?
It is important to know that the P-2 program is not a pathway out of Afghanistan. It is a resettlement program for people to come to the US from a “country of asylum”, meaning a neighboring country, or any other country that you are able to flee to and where the US is able to conduct P2 resettlement processing.* This means that you have to be outside of Afghanistan for the process to be completed. However, you may start the process of applying for the P-2 in while still in Afghanistan.
Once you start the P-2 application, the full process can take 12-14 months, or longer.
Finally, it’s important to know that even if you are eligible for the P-2 program and travel outside of Afghanistan to complete the process, there is no guarantee that your application will be approved. People applying for refugee resettlement to the US go through an extensive process, including multiple security checks, and your application may be denied.
OK, so for the P-2 program I have to leave Afghanistan by my own means. Does it matter which country I go to, or how I enter?
USRAP can process P2 resettlement cases in many but not all countries. Cases can be processed in India and Pakistan, but not in Iran or Turkey.
For the purposes of the US resettlement program, it does not matter if you leave Afghanistan through formal means (with a visa) or irregularly. However, traveling irregularly can of course be dangerous, and you should consider safety when weighing your options.
How do I apply?
You cannot apply to the P-2 program directly. Your employer, or a US official involved in the program you worked on must apply on your behalf. Their role is to verify your employment history and make a referral to the US government. Even though they make the referral, they cannot make decisions on who is selected for resettlement, or to offer visas or any other guarantees – that can only be done by US immigration officials.
If you want to be considered for resettlement under the P-2 program, you can reach out to your current or former employer, or the US official involved in the program you worked on if you were a contractor or working on a US government grant. While you wait you can start gathering the following documents that the person making the referral for you will eventually need:
- Documents to establish identity: passport; national ID/taskera; birth certificates
- Documents to establish relationships: marriage, divorce, death, and/or birth certificates o Documents to establish employment history: employment badges, employer affidavit
What if I have also applied for an SIV visa? Can I apply for P-2? Is one better than the other?
The P-2 program was created for people who are not eligible for the SIV program. However, there is no current restriction against applying for both.