The situation in Afghanistan is constantly changing. Fortunately, for those who wish to immigrate from Afghanistan to the United States, not all hope is lost. Even if you or your family member in Afghanistan are not already a U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident, there are still options.
APPROVED IMMIGRANT VISA OR AWAITING AN INTERVIEW
If your family member already has an approved immigrant visa, or completed the documentary requirements with the National Visa Center (“NVC”) and is waiting on an interview with the U.S. embassy in Kabul, then your family member is a high priority. Those who were already able to leave Afghanistan will finish their processes with a different embassy. must await new instructions. Your family member should keep his or her NVC case number and other NVC notices. These visas are still pending and we are confident they will eventually become available.
SPECIAL IMMIGRATION VISA
If your family member ever worked for the United States government or military or a U.S. contractor, he or she may qualify for a special immigrant visa (“SIV”). Your family member will need to show:
- A written recommendation letter from a U.S. officer/general from the place where he or she worked;
- Proof of working at least 12 months for the U.S. government, a U.S. government contractor, or the NATO-led mission or International Security Assistance Force (“ISAF”); and
- Proof he or she faces an ongoing threat because of their work, and that he or she provided valuable service.
During these times, USCIS claims to be streamlining submissions and procedures for these petitions. Resources may also be available from the State Department or congressional offices. We will do all we can to receive help and attention from all agencies involved.
P-2 – REFUGEE
Individuals who do not qualify for an SIV may still qualify as refugees, with a Priority-2 (“P-2”) designation granting access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for certain Afghans and family members. P-2 is possible for those who worked for the U.S. government or U.S. contractors, but not for the 12 months necessary for an SIV. P-2 is also available for someone who did not work for the U.S. government or ISAF but worked for some other program funded by the U.S. government, or for a U.S. media organization.
If your family member does not qualify for SIV or P-2, and does not have a family member in the U.S. who can petition him or her, then one last option is humanitarian parole. Humanitarian parole allows your family member to enter the U.S. only temporarily. (He or she might be able to apply for something permanent after arriving.) To be approved for humanitarian parole, your family member must show urgent humanitarian reasons for needing to come to the United States. The more serious and the more specific these reasons are, the more likely the humanitarian parole will be approved.
We are constantly monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and how it affects our clients.We will do our best to reunite your families and keep them safe. Please contact one of our offices today to schedule a free consultation by phone or by video chat.
ABOUT THIS AUTHOR(S)
J.J. Despain is the managing attorney in Boise for W&O’. He is admitted to the Colorado State Bar and practices mostly employment-based and family-based immigration law. J.J. graduated from Brigham Young University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications with an emphasis in print journalism. He spent two years as an opinions editor, sports editor, and web editor for the campus newspaper, The Daily Universe. J.J. also earned minors in both Spanish and political science. After his undergraduate studies, J.J. attended law school at the University of Iowa College of Law. In Iowa, J.J. was the president of the student chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, a managing editor of the Iowa Law Review, a judicial clerk for the Honorable Stephanie M. Rose of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa and was involved with the Latino Law Students Association and Sports Law Society.