Processing Visas & Travel from Afghanistan
Thank you for contacting my office to request assistance related to the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan. My office is working to help and process NY-21 constituents’ and Afghan SIV applicants’ visas regarding the crisis in Afghanistan. We stand ready to help.
The United States has drawn down to our core diplomatic presence in Afghanistan. U.S. Embassy staff will assist departures from Afghanistan for as long as it is safe to do so. Currently, the State Department is surging resources and Consular Affairs personnel to support the relocation of U.S. citizens and Afghan special immigrants in Kabul and transit locations. P-1 and P-2 program visas will continue to be processed.
U.S. Citizens in Need of Assistance
Any individual seeking repatriation to the United States must request Repatriation Assistance through the U.S. Embassy Kabul Repatriation Assistance Request form, regardless of whether the individual has already submitted their information to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul previously. This form is the only way to communicate interest in flights leaving Afghanistan. The State Department will notify individuals directly by email as soon as departure options become available.
If you are a citizen of NY-21 and have completed the repatriation assistance form, or if you are a citizen of NY-21 with family in Afghanistan and need assistance, please contact one of my offices in Glens Falls at (518)-743-0964, Watertown at (315)-782-3150, Plattsburgh at (518)-561-2324, or Washington, D.C. at (202)-225-4611.
Visa Categories for Afghans
Special Immigrant Visa (SIV)
This program is available to citizens or nationals of Afghanistan who were employed in Afghanistan on or after October 7, 2001, for at least one year by or on behalf of the U.S. government or by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), or a successor mission, in a capacity that required the applicant to serve as an interpreter or translator for U.S. military personnel while traveling off-base with U.S. military personnel stationed at ISAF or to perform sensitive and trusted activities for U.S. military personnel stationed at ISAF. Applicants to this program must also have experienced or be experiencing an ongoing serious threat as a consequence of their employment.
The SIV program is prioritizing:
- Interpreters and Translators
- U.S. Government Direct Hire Employees
- Contractors with U.S. Government Installation Badges
- Implementing Partners (Afghan third party contractors or subcontractors employed on behalf of U.S. government entities such as USAID)
- All Other Applicants (U.S. government contractors)
Spouses and unmarried children younger than age 21 may also be granted SIVs, as well as surviving spouses or children if the U.S. government employee performed at least 15 years of service or was killed in the line of duty.
- Individuals eligible for a SIV who have not yet started the application process must file a petition (I-360 form).
- Individuals with an approved Form I-360 petition who have questions about their case should email NVCSIV@state.gov.
- Applicants for SIVs notified of eligibility for travel to the United States through Operation Allies Refuge should follow instructions from Operation Allies Refuge.
Priority-1 (P-1) for U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP)
Available to Afghan citizens who claim persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on grounds covered in U.S. refugee law (race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion), and are unable to receive support or protection from the Afghan Government. Only U.S. citizens who are current or former Chief of Mission or Department of Defense employees who served in Afghanistan are eligible to nominate Afghans for P-1 embassy referrals to the USRAP. The nominee can be residing in Afghanistan or another country, but processing of the refugee case will not begin until or unless the individual makes the difficult decision to depart Afghanistan.
Individual P-1 cases are referred by the U.S. Embassy, designated NGO or the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Individuals who are eligible for a SIV should not be nominated for P-1.
- Individuals who believe they are eligible for P-1 should work with their contact at the U.S. Embassy or applicable NGO to explore the process.
Priority-2 (P-2) for U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP)
The P-2 program is for Afghans who fall into one of three categories:
- Afghans who do not meet the minimum time-in-service for a SIV but who work or worked at any time as employees of contractors, locally employed staff, interpreters/translators of the U.S. government, United States Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A), International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), or Resolute Support;
- Afghans who work or worked at any time for a U.S. government-funded program or project in Afghanistan supported through a U.S. government grant or cooperative agreement;
- Afghans who are or were employed in Afghanistan by a U.S-based NGO or media organization.
U.S. government departments and agencies, and U.S.-based NGOs or media organizations with operations in Afghanistan, may submit P-2 referrals for Afghans.
- Individuals who believe they are eligible for P-2 should work with their employer, contact in the U.S. government, NGO or media organization to complete a referral package.
- The completed referral package must be sent to USRAPAfghanReferrals@state.gov. Due to the anticipated high volume of inquiries, the Department of State will only respond to messages sent by the senior-most American employee of the organization.
- Case processing cannot begin until or unless the individual makes the difficult decision to depart Afghanistan.
- The United States is unable to provide protection or support to individuals while they await a decision on their P-2 refugee case. Those who leave Afghanistan can register for international protection and assistance as a refugee with the government of the country they are in if the country has an established asylum process, or they can register with the UN Refugee Agency.