CAIR-LA expresses solidarity with the Afghan–American community. We call on the Biden Administration to do everything possible to both welcome Afghan refugees to the United States while protecting Afghan civilians in Kabul amid the evacuation of American citizens, permanent residents, and visa holders.
If you have a family member or friend who is in danger in Afghanistan, we recommend that you reach out to your local member of Congress. You can find your representative here: house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.
You can also complete this form created by Representative Ami Bera’s office to collect emergency information from people who are currently at risk in Afghanistan. We cannot promise anything, but Rep. Bera’s office is doing everything it can to assist any American and Afghan ally and their families who are at risk in Afghanistan.
Currently, there are few ways to seek safety and assistance from the U.S. government. It depends on the individual’s status. The situation is evolving rapidly, which may affect how up to date this information is. Below identifies some options:
I. US citizens, lawful permanent residents (green card holders), individuals in possession of an Immigrant Visa (IV), or certain individual who have a pending IV:
a. Individuals under this category, seeking assistance to depart Afghanistan, may register to receive assistance from the U.S. Embassy here: Repatriation Assistance Request. The form should be completed for each traveler in their group. The form should only be completed once for each traveler and should be completed as soon as possible.
b. The purpose of the form is to gather names of those who need immigrant visa appointments and those who wish to utilize any repatriation options, including assistance with repatriation flights. The State Department advises not to cancel booked commercial flights as they cannot guarantee charter flights will be available.
c. Those with pending applications may consider applying for humanitarian parole (see below) which may be faster than waiting for the embassy to issue a visa.
II. For Afghans that have been employed on behalf of the U.S. government, U.S.-based NGOs, and U.S.-based media organizations:
a. Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) is a type of visa for Afghans that have been employed for a minimum of one year, between October 7, 2001, and December 31, 2023, by the U.S. government. Applicants must also have experienced or be experiencing an ongoing serious threat as a consequence of their employment.
i. Afghan nationals who are eligible for the SIV program who have not yet done so, are encouraged to submit one complete application package to the National Visa Center (AfghanSIVapplication@state.gov) to facilitate processing in an expeditious manner.
ii. Individuals with approved SIV applications should contact NVCSIV@state.gov and a congressional office to seek evacuation assistance.
iii. For more information on SIV applications visit the State Department and International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) websites.
b. The Afghan P-2 program allows Afghan nationals to be considered for refugee resettlement based on work for U.S. government agencies, U.S.-based NGOs, and U.S.-based media organizations. The P-2 program does not accept applicant self-referrals. Referrals must be made by the senior-most U.S. citizen employee of the media organization’s or NGO’s headquarters in the United States.
i. For more information on the P-2 program please visit IRAP and State Department websites.
III. For Afghans that have US citizen, lawful permanent residence, or refugee relatives in the US:
a. If you have an Afghan spouse, parent, sibling, or child and you are a U.S. Citizen, Permanent Resident, Refugee, or Asylee you may be able to file a petition for an immigrant visa for your relative.
b. For more information for U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents see form I-130. For Refugees and Asylees see form I-730.
c. This process can take several months or years, if your relatives are in immediate danger, you may consider requesting Humanitarian Parole (see below).
d. Contact our CAIR-CA’s Immigrants’ Right Center or an immigration attorney to get a consultation and more information about this process.
IV. For Afghans who fear persecution from the Taliban or any group in Afghanistan:
a. If you suffered or fear serious harm by the Taliban or any group that the government is unable to protect you from based on your race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or particular social group, you should seek safety at the nearest refugee camp and register with a designated Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) or the United Nations (UN) as a refugee.
b. If you are in the U.S., you may apply for asylum. Contact our CAIR-CA’s Immigrants’ Right Center or an immigration attorney to get a consultation and more information about this process.
c. If you can make it to a port of entry at a U.S. border, you can apply for asylum.
V. For Afghans seeking entry to the U.S. for urgent humanitarian reasons:
a. Humanitarian parole may be an option. Humanitarian Parole can be requested by someone outside of the United States who is seeking temporary entrance to the U.S. for urgent humanitarian reasons. To be eligible, you have to establish 1) that you will go back to Afghanistan when it is safe, or 2) how you plan to regularize status in the US. This could refer to information about a pending or soon to be filed petition by your qualifying family member on your behalf, intentions to apply for asylum, etc.
b. If you can reach a third country, an application for Humanitarian Parole can be made at the U.S. Embassy. Afghan citizens are eligible for e-visas to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, and they may enter the following countries without a visa:
i. Antigua and Barbuda (e-Visa)
ii. Benin (e-Visa)
iii. Cape Verde (Visa on arrival – 3 months)
iv. Comoros (Visa on arrival – 45 days)
v. Dominica (Visa free entry – 21 days)
vi. Ethiopia (e-Visa – 90 days)
vii. Maldives (Visa on arrival – 30 days)
viii. Qatar (e-Visa)
c. More information on the Humanitarian Parole process can be found here: USCIS and IRAP.
d. Contact our CAIR Immigrants’ Right Center or an immigration attorney to get a consultation and more information about this process.
It is recommended that anyone trying to travel around Afghanistan to wipe their phones so that they have no social media or other files that would provoke the Taliban. Travelers should travel light, with just what they need for kids, food and medicines. Lines are extremely long at airports.
Should you need more information, please contact CAIR Greater Los Angeles at (714) 776-1177 or visit bit.ly/cairla-immigration.