How To Avoid Common SIV Application Problems
The following information has been sourced and adapted from the IRAP organization’s guide for COM approval.
Below is a list of common SIV problems. This list is not complete. Always check the U.S. government COM guidelines. If there are any issues with the LOR or HR letter, ask for an updated letter that meets the guidelines. Then submit the updated letters to COM. Visit the official COM guidelines.
Problems to check for in Employment Verification (HR) letter:
- The employment verification (HR) letter lists employment period for less than 24 months. Your employment period should cover 24 months or more in order to qualify for the Afghan SIV program. If you have worked for multiple employers or projects, then you can combine multiple HR letters to meet the 24 month employment requirement.
- The employment verification (HR) letter notes the employee was terminated (fired), failed CI screening or polygraph failed. If you were fired or failed security screenings, then this could affect your COM eligibility and your SIV application getting denied. Please read this IRAP Guide for COM Denial Appeals.
- The employment verification (HR) letter does not list the U.S. government contract numbers for the work you completed. If you worked for a subcontractor, make sure your HR letter includes both the subcontract number and the U.S. government prime contract number. The contract details should be provided such as project name, contract duration, prime contractor name and contract name (if contract name available).
- If an employer can provide copies of cover pages for all relevant subcontracts or contracts, submit those documents to COM. COM must be able to confirm the existence of contracts for your required period of work. The entire contract copy is not needed, just the cover page summarizing the contract details is sufficient.
- The employment verification (HR) letter must be dated and hand signed with a pen, not an electronic signature or stamp.
- The employment verification (HR) letter must be written by an authorized person or by the Human Resources (HR) department. If HR department is not available, then the HR letter needs to explain this and the letter must be signed by someone in a senior management position like CEO, Director, President, Regional Manager, etc.
- The employment verification (HR) letter must have an active email address. It is very important that COM can contact your HR office to verify your HR letter. Keep in regular contact with your HR office and if their contact information changes, get updated HR letter and submit it to AfghanSIVApplication@state.gov
- Make sure your HR letter contains all of the following required information:
- Letter date.
- Your full name.
- Your date of birth.
- Your job title.
- Your job location.
- Employment start date in DD-MM-YYYY format.
- Last date of employment in DD-MM-YYYY format.
- The reason for separation from employer if no longer employed.
- Complete description of your work duties and location where you performed those duties.
- Information on the U.S. government contract or subcontract held by your employer, if applicable. This should include project name; contract number; the period of performance of the contract ( contract duration); and the name of the prime contractor.
- The name of author writing the letter, author job title, his or her pen signature, and active email address.
- Read the HR Employment Verification Sample Letter containing all the required information.
- Confirm your HR letter you have submitted meets all the requirements. If requirements are missing, then submit new or updated HR letter with missing required information to AfghanSIVApplication@state.gov
- Keep in regular contact with your employer’s HR office until you been issued a COM approval. If their contact information changes, then ask for a new HR letter that has their current, active email address. Submit this new letter to AfghanSIVApplication@state.gov.
What if my company does not exist anymore or does not have records about my employment?
If your company does not exist anymore or does not have records, ask your U.S. citizen supervisor to write a letter. This letter should be separate from the letter of recommendation. The letter should:
- Explain that the company does not exist anymore or does not have records
- List the start and end date of your employment
- List the reason for separation from the company
- Include as much of the information listed above as possible for HR letter requirements
You should also try to get as many letters from U.S. citizen supervisors as possible. These supervisors should list when they worked with you in their letters. This will help you prove as much qualifying employment as possible.
For more information, visit IRAP Legal Information Website.
Problems to check for in Recommendation Letter:
- Your recommendation letter must be written by a direct U.S. citizen supervisor that personally knew you. The person must had been your supervisor during your employment dates mentioned in your employment verification (HR) letter(s).
- The recommendation letter must list the start and end dates of supervision dates in DD-MM-YYYY format. For example, 27-05-2017. Both supervision start and end dates in DD-MM-YYYY format are required.
- The supervisory dates must be between the employment dates noted in your HR letters. The supervisory period is not required to be for 24 months. The dates must fall between the period you were working as stated in your HR letter. Lets examine following scenarios:
- You worked for XYZ company from 21-03-2011 to 15-10-2017. If the person was your direct supervisor between those dates then it acceptable. For example, direct supervisor in 2013. This is acceptable.
- You worked for XYZ company from 21-03-2011 to 15-10-2017, but the person was your direct supervisor in 2007. The person was your direct supervisor before your employment. This is not acceptable!
- You worked for XYZ company from 21-03-2011 to 15-10-2017, but the person was your direct supervisor in 2020. The person was your direct supervisor after your employment. This is not acceptable!
- Make sure the supervisor’s email address in recommendation letter is active. If the email address changes or unreachable, then contact your supervisor and get updated recommendation letter that lists his or her active email address. It is very important that your supervisor can be contacted to verify your recommendation letter. Keep in regular contact with your supervisor until you have been issued a visa.
- If you can not reach your supervisor, search for them using websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Zaba Search, Instagram.
- Ask your supervisor to include current work, personal email addresses, phone numbers and home mailing addresses in recommendation letters to increase chances of them being located later when they leave their Afghanistan job.
- Make sure in the recommendation letter, your supervisor states whether the applicant poses a threat to the national security or safety of the United States, to the best of their knowledge. This is a mandatory requirement!
- The recommendation letter must be dated and hand signed with a pen, not an electronic signature or stamp.
- Make sure your recommendation letter contains all of the following required information:
- Full Name
- Your date of birth –> DD-MM-YYYY format
- Your badge number (if available).
- Your Afghan passport number.
- Your job title.
- Your job location.
- Confirmation that the recommender was/is your direct supervisor and knew you personally.
- The date your supervisor started supervising you in DD-MM-YYYY format.
- The date your supervisor stopped supervising you in DD-MM-YYYY format.
- The supervisor’s name, title, corporate or U.S. government/military email address and personal email address.
- Justification for recommending you for COM approval, i.e., that you provided faithful and valuable service to the U.S. government.
- The supervisor’s explanation of any ongoing serious threat you have experienced or are experiencing as a consequence of your employment by or on behalf of the U.S. government.
- The supervisor’s opinion on whether you pose a threat to the national security or safety of the United States. This is a mandatory requirement.
- The supervisor’s description of your work duties. This statement should be personalized to the specific duties you performed, including a description of where you performed those duties.
- Review the SIV Recommendation Letter Sample containing all the required information.
What if your supervisor was not a U.S. citizen?
If the recommendation letter is not possible to obtain from a U.S. citizen supervisor who knows you personally, you should provide a letter of recommendation signed by your non-U.S. citizen supervisor and co-signed by the U.S. citizen who is responsible for the contract. The U.S. citizen who co-signs must indicate that, based on his or her relationship with your contract or sub-contract supervisor, he or she is confident that the information provided is correct. The U.S. citizen co-signer must also certify that, to the best of his or her knowledge, you present no threat to the national security or safety of the United States. The recommendation must contain the U.S. citizen co-signer’s work and personal email address so he or she may be contacted for verification and if additional information is needed.
If your HR letter or Recommendation Letter does not meet the requirements or has missing requirements, then you must get new or updated documents. Submit these new / updated documents to be included in you case by emailing to: AfghanSIVApplication@state.gov
When emailing, write your subject line as: Full Name, Date of birth and Case Number. For example, Mustafa Totakhail, 07/11/1985, NVCSIV20175551239
Inside your email message mention that you are submitting new document to be included in your case. Mention that you are the principal applicant and include your full name, date of birth and case number (if any available) in the email message. Always attach your documents in PDF file format.
For information about appealing denied cases, read: Guide for COM Denial Appeals
For information on reviewing and updating your Afghan SIV COM Application, read: Guide on Reviewing and Updating your Afghan SIV COM Application