What is the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) for Afghans?
The SIV allows certain Afghan nationals to enter the United States with lawful permanent residence.
Who can apply?
You may be eligible for this program if:
(1) you are an Afghan national who was employed in Afghanistan for at least one year by
- the U.S. government
- a contractor for the U.S. government
- the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), or a successor mission, (such as the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM)) as an interpreter or translator for U.S. military personnel
- By ISAF to perform other sensitive and trusted activities for U.S. military personnel stationed at ISAF.
(2) your employment took place between October 7, 2001, and December 31, 2022.
(3) you have experienced ongoing serious threat because of their employment.
Can SIV applicants apply with their family?
Applicants for the SIV can also apply for their spouse and any unmarried children under 21 years of age.
I think I might be eligible. How can I apply?
The International Refugee Assistance Project has some very good guidance on the application process which we are sharing directly here. You can follow the links below for more details on each step.
Step one: Chief of Mission (COM) approval
If you are an Afghan SIV applicant, you need to obtain Chief of Mission (COM) approval. More information on the COM process is located on the U.S. Department of State website here. At this step, you must submit information and documents to the COM over email. These documents include:
- Verification of your employment, also called a human resources letter.
- A recommendation letter from your supervisor.
- Proof that you worked for a company that worked with U.S. government funding.
If you already started your COM application, but you do not have an answer on your application, IRAP’s guide on how to submit new documents for your COM application is here.
If you face long delays, IRAP’s guide on delayed U.S. immigration applications is here.
If your COM application is denied, IRAP’s guide on COM appeals is here.
Step two: USCIS petition
After you receive COM approval, you must next submit a petition to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center. IRAP’s guide on submitting the I-360 is here.
Step three: Complete the visa application
After you receive I-360 approval, you must complete the DS-260 and visa application process. IRAP’s guide on submitting the DS-260 visa application is here.
Step four: The visa interview
IRAP’s guide on how to prepare for the visa interview is here for Afghan SIV interviews. If you face long delays after your interview, IRAP’s guide on delayed U.S. immigration applications is here.
If your COM approval is revoked, IRAP’s guide on filing a COM appeal is here.
If a person’s SIV is approved and issued, they can travel to the United States. More information on the SIV travel process is available on the Department of State’s website here.
If I am Eligible, should arrange for my travel?
You should NOT make any travel arrangements, sell property, or give up employment until you are issued a U.S. visa.