It is always a difficult choice deciding where you like to resettle once your visa is issued. The Afghan Special Immigrant Visa holders have three options to choose for resettlement in the United States.
If you choose to resettle through the SIV R&P Placement (IOM and refugee agency), then you can choose the following options when filling out DS-0234 SIV Biodata form.
Option – A:
You may list a person near whom you like to be resettled. If you have family members or friends in the United States near whom you would like to be resettled, you should indicate this on page 2 of the DS-0234 Biodata Form under Section D, “U.S. Ties”.
Please ensure you provide their full name, address, telephone number, email address, and relationship.
While you may provide a preference about where you might wish to be resettled, if you elect to participate in this program, it may not always be possible to honor your request to resettle near family members or friends due to high cost of living (expensive area and high cost of rent), limited housing availability and other factors. Each area of the United States has its own cost of living and availability of housing which can significantly vary from one location to another location.
When deciding on the location, please do your own research and contact your friends, relatives and family members in the United States to ask about costs of living, apartment rent prices and job availabilities in the area you wish to resettle. Do not blindly select an expensive area.
Special Note for Northern Virginia:
Due to very high housing costs and limited housing availability, among other challenges, only those SIVs joining a spouse, parent, sister / brother, child, or grandparent will be allowed to receive R&P benefits (refugee benefits) in the Northern Virginia area. This means your wife/husband, child, sister/brother, parent or grandparent is already living there and you wish to live close to them. Friends, cousin, fiancée, aunt/uncle, other relatives and supervisor does not count for qualifying for the refugee benefits in Northern Virginia.
If you choose to go Northern Virginia area and do not have immediate family living in there already, then you will not receive any refugee benefits. You will be responsible for financially supporting yourself without any refugee benefits or assistance.
Where is Northern Virginia?
The green area in the map is the Northern Virginia area. Some of the cities it includes are: Alexandria, Manassas, Arlington, Fair Fax, Falls Church, Tyson’s Corner, Dumfries, etc.
Option – B:
You may allow a resettlement agency choose a location for you. The resettlement agency will use the biographical information you provide to determine the resettlement site that is best suited for you and your family.
Option – C:
You may choose a city from the list of SIV R&P Placement Options in the table below. If you would like to be resettled to one of the listed cities, please indicate your preference by writing the selected city on page 2 of the DS-0234 SIV Biodata Form under Section E, entitled “Comments.”
Please be aware that the cost of living and the availability of housing can vary significantly in different locations across the United States. The Washington, DC metro area including northern Virginia and some cities in California are very expensive places to live, and it can be difficult to find affordable housing and employment. Any resettlement benefits you receive may not comfortably cover the cost of living in these areas. Unless you have close relatives or friends in these areas who are able to provide financial support and housing until you find employment that covers your living expenses, it is best to allow a resettlement agency to choose a suitable location for you.
Where can I find directory of Resettlement Agencies?
You can download and view directory of resettlement agencies here: Resettlement Agencies Directory
How can I apply for IOM and Resettlement Agency?
Read the post about the resettlement process here: How to Apply for Resettlement Benefits (IOM)?
If you need more help or have questions, then please join our Facebook Group ” AWA SIV Advocacy ” and write a post there. Our experienced staff and members will gladly assist you.
Facebook Group link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/awa.siv.advocacy