Special Immigrant Visa (SIV)

Human Rights First

The Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) program allows Afghans who face threats or danger due to their work with the U.S. Government or its contractors in Afghanistan to resettle in the United States.  


To be eligible, Afghans must have been employed in Afghanistan by or on behalf of the U.S. Government or by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for at least one year since October 7, 2001.  


SIV allows eligible individuals and their eligible family members to apply for permanent residence in the United States.  


People who receive SIVs enter the U.S. with lawful permanent residence (also known as a green card).   

Am I eligible for a SIV?

People who served the United States and its contractors in these roles are eligible for the SIV program: 

  • Interpreters and Translators 
  • U.S. Government Direct-Hire Employees 
  • Contractors with U.S. Government Installation Badges 
  • Afghan third party contractors or subcontractors employed on behalf of U.S. government entities such as USAID 
  • Other U.S. government contractors 

SIV applicants can included their spouses and unmarried children younger than age 21 in their application.  

If an employee of the U.S. government performed at least 15 years of service or was killed in the line of duty, spouses or children may be granted SIVs.  

I am an Afghan national who has worked with the U.S. Armed Forces or under Chief of Mission (COM) authority as a translator or interpreter for a period of at least 12 months:

I am an Afghan national who has been employed by the U.S. Government or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for at least two years between 2001 and 2021.

Which family members are eligible under the primary’s SIV application? 


A primary applicant’s spouse and all unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible to adjust their status under the primary’s application.  The age of the unmarried child is frozen on the date that Form I-360 was filed.

Processing times vary depending on the case and the applicant, but it can take between 6-7 months to receive COM approval. Afghans waiting for a COM decision can email [email protected] to check the status of their case.  

If approved:  

A COM approval letter will be emailed to you with instructions on next steps, including how to file a petition with USCIS.  

If denied:  

You have 120 days to appeal.  

Send the application and a Form I-360, petition for Amerasian, Widow(er) or Special Immigrant to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Nebraska Service Center.  

Complete the online visa application and submit appropriate documents.   

An interview and medical exam will be scheduled at a U.S. consulate or embassy in a third country. 

A SIV visa will be issued with the successful completion of the application.     



Individuals with an approved Form I-360 petition who have questions about their case should email [email protected]. 


Important Notes:

While your SIV application is pending, you may apply for humanitarian parole or be eligible for other alternative options.  

 If you have already been scheduled for an interview or were interviewed as a refugee but are eligible for the SIV, you can file both applications simultaneously.  

The refugee and SIV programs differ in process and eligibility, but both processes take several months to complete.  

Registration and application for either program is not a guarantee of eventual admission to the U.S.