Frequently Asked Questions

This page attempts to provide Afghan SIV help by answering the most frequently asked questions by Afghan SIV applicants. For official answers, please visit the official Afghan siv program webpage.

This page is divided into following sections:

    1. Application Stage
    2. Interview Stage
    3. Drop-Off / Medical Exam Stage
    4. Visa Issued / IOM Flight Stage
    5. After Arrival Stage
    6. Miscellaneous Questions
    7. SIV Denial and COM Appeal Guide
    8. SIV Contact Information

Read the blog post for Afghan SIV 2020 Updated Eligibility

Application Stage

  1. I would like to apply for SIV program, how can I get COM approval or visa?
    • Please visit the SIV Guide page for step-by-step instructions.
  2. What if I am unable to locate or need assistance contacting my former U.S. military or Department of Defense supervisor?
    • If your previous supervisor was U.S. military or an employee of the U.S. Department of Defense and you are having trouble locating him or her, the Supervisor Locator can possibly help. Locate Supervisor Here
  3. I submitted my application for SIV program, when will I get COM approval?
    • Please make sure you have informed your HR office and supervisor that wrote your recommendation letter to confirm your documents when the US embassy or NVC contacts them.
    • Continue to have patience and wait as everyone’s case takes different processing time. Do not compare your case with others.
    • If feel you need assistance with your COM approval, then contact IRAP organization for assistance with your case by visiting:
  4. My case was denied, how can I appeal?
    • Since the denial reason for each case is different, it is hard to give any case specific advice or assistance.
    • Visit the COM Appeal section for information about COM appeal.
  5. I received my COM approval. What should I do next?
    • After receiving your COM approval letter, you will need to submit I-360 petition.
    • Read the Step 2 in SIV guide page to learn how to fill out and submit your I-360 petition.
  6. I got my Conditional Approval letter. What should I do next?
    • After receiving your Conditional approval letter, you will need to fill out and submit the DS-260 application for yourself and your family members.
    • Read the Step 3 in SIV Guide page to learn how to fill out and submit DS-26o application.

Interview Stage

  1. I received my visa interview appointment. What documents do I need to bring on interview day?
    • Please carefully read your visa interview appointment letter. It specifically lists the documents and items you will need to bring. Read the “document codes” listed next to each item. Find the explanation for each document listed in a separate page included inside the visa interview appointment letter.
    • Read the SIV interview documents explanation
  2. I still don’t understand what documents are needed for the visa interview? Can you list them?
    • Generally, the following items are usually required:
      • Unexpired Afghan electronic passport for each person, including children.
      • Any military badge or ID card (if available)
      • Company, Camp / FOB badge (if available)
      • Original Afghan taskeras with English translation for each person.
      • Marriage certificate (Nikah Khet) with English translation (if married).
      • Divorce certificate (talaaq khet) with English translation (if divorced).
      • Death certificate if a spouse or child dies before or during visa issue.
      • 2 passport size pictures for each person. Read photo requirements here.
      • Afghanistan police certificate is not required.
  3. What is the visa interview process? What questions are asked during the interview?
    • The visa interview process is very simple and easy.
    • Simple questions such as these are asked during the interview:
      • Where did you work?
      • How many children you have?
      • Why do you want to live in the USA?
      • Do you have any fiancee (if the applicant is single)?
      • Besides Afghanistan, which other countries have you lived and visited?
      • Did you serve in the Afghan military, police or NDS? Served in any other foreign country military?
      • Do you have citizenship or passports from other countries? If yes, which countries?
    • Watch the visa interview process video.
  4. Can I bring my children to the Kabul embassy for the interview?
    • Children under 15 years old are not required to attend the visa interview at US Kabul embassy unless requested by the embassy.
    • The embassy usually lets you know if you are required to bring your children under 15 years old or not.
    • If unsure, have doubts or questions regarding the children’s attendance, then please contact Kabul embassy directly at:
  5. I am no longer inside Afghanistan. Can I give my visa interview in another country?
    • Yes! You can give your visa interview at another US embassy location outside Afghanistan.
    • You will need to request US Kabul embassy to transfer your SIV case to the US embassy closest to your location.
    • Contact the US Embassy Kabul by submitting Online Inquiry Form.
  6. I gave my visa interview. When will I receive drop off?
    • After your visa interview, your case needs to complete the Administrative Process.
    • Depending on your case, the administrative process can take 9 to 12 months or more time to complete.
    • Please do not compare your administrative process stage with other applicants. Some people get their administrative process finished faster than others depending on many factors.
  7. What is the Administrative Process (AP)?
    • Administrative Process is simply the security background check.
    • This background check is processed by various US government agencies including CIA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense (DOD), etc.
    • The purpose of the administrative process is to ensure the public safety of United States by preventing terrorists, spies and criminals entering USA through the SIV program.
  8. My SIV case has been pending Administrative Process for more than one year. What should I do?
    • If your SIV case has been pending in Administrative Process for a long time, then do the following suggestions:
      • Visit the IRAP (International Refugee Assistance Project) organization website to get legal information:
      • Start contacting your American supervisors, military friends and even your Afghan green card holder friends inside USA for assistance with your case. Your friends will need to contact their own senators in US Congress to request assistance for your case.

Drop-off / Medical Stage

  1. I got the drop-off. How can I schedule medical exam appointment in Kabul?
  2. Where is the American Medical Clinic located?
    • 15th Street, Lane 4, Wazir Akbar Khan, Kabul

      *Located close to Norway Embassy

  3. What is the clinic phone number? +93 79 759 0738
  4. I got medical exam appointment. What items do I need to bring? How much it costs?
    • Please open following screenshot pictures to learn documents needed. Note: This is for Kabul medical exams only.
    • Bring the copy of your “visa interview appointment letter”.
    • Plan spending about $500 per person for the medical exam.



Visa Issued / IOM Flight

  1. How can I check my case status? How will I know I got the visa issued?
    • Read your “ Yellow Card ” instructions. It clearly explains the process to check your case status.
    • You can check your case status by visiting:
      • Enter your case number (KBL number) to see the case status.
  2. I got my visa issued. When will IOM book my flight?
    • IOM gives flight priority based on visa expiration date. If your visa expires soon, then your flight will be scheduled soon.
    • If your visa expiration has lots of time, then IOM flight process will be slow.
  3. IOM flight takes too long. I want to travel without IOM assistance. What will happen?
    • If you choose to travel without IOM assistance, then you will face lots of difficulties and risks in not being able to get apartment/house rent because:
      • You will not have the required American documents such as green card and social security card.
      • You will not have any job or income history inside America. The apartment manager will not be able to trust that you will be able to pay the monthly rent on time.
      • The apartment manager can not do the background check in their computer systems because you have no previous history living or working in America. Thus landlord can’t trust you to give apartment rent. 

      When you travel with IOM assistance, then the refugee agency handling your case will arrange the apartment for you before or after your arrival and will do all the required paperwork for welfare assistance and refugee benefits.

  • I still want to travel without IOM assistance!
    • If you still insist on traveling without IOM assistance, then make sure you have arranged your own living situation before your arrival. This means you already have a place to live before arriving.
    • Make sure you have friends, relatives or family members that can give you a place to stay for few weeks to few months until you can find your own place.
    • Do not think you will be able to rent hotel rooms for few nights or weeks until you can find an apartment. The hotels cost about $100 to $200 per night. You might risk spending all of your money on hotel room bill and still not be able to find an apartment to rent.
    • Make sure you have somebody that will come to the airport to take you to your house.
    • Note: You have 30 days after arrival without IOM to apply for refugee benefits. Find the nearest refugee agency to apply on the Refugee Agency directory list.
  • If I travel without IOM on my own, do I need to contact anyone?
    • No. If you are traveling on your own without IOM assistance, then you don’t need to contact anyone. Just book your own flight tickets.
  • Will I receive refugee benefits, welfare assistance, and welcome money if I arrive without IOM assistance?
    • Yes. You are still eligible for all benefits if traveling without IOM assistance.
    • You have 30 days after arrival without IOM to apply for refugee benefits. Find the nearest refugee agency to apply on the Refugee Agency directory list.

How can I apply for refugee benefits and IOM flight?

    • Watch Refugee Benefit tutorial video.
    • If you get the “inbox is full” error message after emailing then try again later after 1 or 2 days. You can also use the ” ” email address to apply for refugee benefits and IOM flight.
      • Please only send the email to or Do not send the email to both, unless you get the “inbox is full” error message from address.
    • Note: When emailing, you will not receive auto-reply. Please have patience and wait for IOM response. Remember, IOM gives flight processing priority based on visa expiration dates and processing times for each case will vary. DO NOT COMPARE YOUR CASE WITH OTHERS!

What is the weight limit on IOM flights from Kabul to the USA?

  • Each person traveling on IOM flight can bring two luggage bag up to 23 kilograms and one small hand luggage bag to carry inside plane cabin up to 7 kilograms for adults. For children over 2 years old, one 23 kg luggage with one small 7 kg handbag.
  • For example, a family of size 3 can bring following bags:
      • Husband: Two 23 kg bag, one small 7 kg handbag.
      • Wife: Two 23 kg bag, one small 7 kg handbag.
      • Child over 2 years old: One 23 kg bag, one small 7 kg handbag.

    Note: Children under 2 years old are not allowed to have any bags.

But I want to bring more bags or my bags are heavier!

  • Depending on your airline company, you will need to pay extra luggage fees in the airport if your luggage exceeds the limit.
  • For more information, please contact Kabul IOM office.
  • Note: IOM office will give you flight information and latest luggage policy before your travel, you should always follow the official IOM instruction as it might change from the above information without any notice. 

How can I contact IOM Kabul office?

  • IOM Kabul email address:
  • IOM Kabul telephone: +93 (0) 20 220 1022
  • Office address: House No. 1093, Ansari Wat, Behind UNICA Guest House, Shahr-i-Naw, Kabul, Afghanistan 

After Arrival Stage

  1. I arrived without IOM assistance. How can I apply for refugee benefits and welcome money?
  2. How do I apply for green card?
    • For SIV cases, there is no need to apply for green card. Your DS-260 application is also the application for the green card.
  3. How long does it take to receive the green card?
    • Your green card can take maximum 120 days to receive in the mail.
    • The green card will be sent to the mailing address provided in the DS-260 application. Please make sure the mailing address is correct with the correct format.
  4. I gave the wrong address for my green card. How can I correct or change it?
    • Immediately contact USCIS office to correct or change your address before your green card is sent in the mail.
    • Contact USCIS by calling: 1 – 800 – 375 – 5283
  5. How can I apply for the social security card?
    • After arrival in the USA, you will need to visit the Social Security Administration office to apply for the social security card.
    • If you arrived with IOM flight, then the refugee agency helping you should be able to help you register for Social Security card.
    • Find your nearest Social Security Office here.
  6. Can I travel back to Afghanistan with my green card?
    • Yes, you may travel to Afghanistan after obtaining your green card.
    • You can stay for up to one year in Afghanistan with your green card. 
    • However, do keep in mind the US Immigration officials might question your prolonged stay in Afghanistan given that you had claimed threats against your life in your SIV application.
  7. I want to stay for more than one year outside the USA with my green card. Can I do it?
    • Yes, there is no law preventing you to leave the US for more than one year. However, there is a 12 month limit for staying outside US to avoid having your green card canceled. 
    • If you are planning to live outside the US for more than one year, then need to obtain “travel document” first.
  8. What is a travel document? How do I get one?
    • Travel document is the re-entry permit that allows a person to return back to USA after living in another country for up to two years.
    • You can apply for it here: I-131, Application for Travel Document
  9. I got engaged or married after arrival in the US. How can I sponsor him/her?
    • After arriving in USA as single person, your SIV case is generally closed and you are no longer allowed to add wife/husband if you get married after arriving. 
    • You will need to sponsor your wife/husband with your green card to USA and the process can take 2-3 years to get visa issued.
    • Sponsor your spouse with green here: Bringing Spouses to Live in the United States as Permanent Residents
  10. In job applications, it asks the question if I am a veteran or served in US military. What should I answer?
    • Leave this question blank or answer “No” unless you officially served in US military.
    • In order to be legally called a veteran, you need to have officially served in the US military as a soldier or officer.
    • Working as local interpreter does not legally give you the veteran status.
    • Some organizations such as No One Left Behind calls local interpreters as veterans, but it is not legally recognized status by the US government currently.

Miscellaneous Questions

  1. How can I contact US Embassy Kabul?
  2. The slash ( / ) got changed to OR. When will I get drop-off or visa issued? Why has nothing happened?
    • Slash ( / ) changing to OR has no meaning. It does not mean you will get drop-off or visa issued soon.
  3. If I have more than one wife, will all of them get a visa issued?
    • No, unfortunately, under US laws, having multiple wives at the same time is not allowed. Your case will denied on grounds of practicing polygamy. You maybe banned permanently from entering USA.
    • Your first marriage is legally recognized and you can not bring your other wives to the United States.
    • Please do not try to cheat the US government by trying to bring your other wife as your daughter.
    • For further questions or clarification, please contact the US embassy processing your case.
  4. I am the principle female applicant, but my husband has another wife. What will happen?
    • The U.S. law allows for only one married husband and wife. You should contact the US embassy for clarification and procedure for your situation. 
  5. Can I include my fiance (naamzad) under my SIV case?
    • No, only husbands and wives are allowed to be included in the SIV case. Fiances can not be added in the SIV case.
  6. Can I include my parents, brother or sister in my Afghan SIV case?
    • No, unfortunately, only spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old can be added in the SIV case.
    • Parents, brothers or sisters can not be included in the SIV case. You can sponsor them for an immigrant visa after becoming US citizen.
  7. Can I include my married children in my SIV case?
    • No, married children are not eligible to be included in parent’s SIV case regardless of their age even if they are under 21 years old.
  8. Can I include single (unmarried) children over 21 years old in my SIV case?
    • No, only single children under 21 years old are eligible for the SIV case.
    • If during the SIV processing, the children become 21 years old before you submit the i-360 form, then they are not eligible for SIV visa under the parent case anymore. 
    • If they are younger than 21 years old at the time of submitting i-360 form, then they are eligible to get visa issued through the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) immigration law as long as they remain single, unmarried.
    • Please do not try to cheat and risk your SIV case by changing your child’s age in passport or tazkira.
  9. I have a new born child. How can include the newborn child to my SIV case?
    • Please email to request adding your newborn child to your SIV case. In the email include following items:
      • Child’s birth certificate (translated and original taskera).
      • Child’s Afghan electronic passport copy.
      • Principal applicant’s full name, date of birth and case number.
    • Note: You may not receive auto-reply when sending email request to add your child to your case. Please have patience and wait for the response that your child has been added and regularly keep checking your DS-260 application. Once the child is added to the DS-260 application, then submit the application for the child.
  10. I am US citizen or green card holder marrying a divorced/widowed person that has children. Can I sponsor the person with their children for USA visa?

SIV Denial / COM Appeal Guide

I am terminated, job abandonment, blacklisted, CI screening failed, or polygraph failed. How can I get help?

Unfortunately, this is a complicated issue that requires extensive case assistance as each individual’s circumstances is different. We can not provide individual one-on-one case assistance at the moment.

However, IRAP organization has written a great guide with general information about clearing your background. 

For English version: Guide for COM Appeal (English)

Dari and Pashto versions will be published soon on IRAP website.

My SIV case was denied. How can I appeal?

IRAP organization has written the Guide for COM Appeal. Open and read their guide for further information.

For English version: Guide for COM Appeal (English)

Does appeal mean sending my old documents again?

No, you should not be sending your old documents to appeal your SIV denial decision. You need to provide new evidence and/or documents that overcomes or fixes the problem your case had. 

This means getting new updated HR letter or new updated recommendation letters from US citizen supervisors addressing the issue or reason for your denial. The supervisors should explain in their letters why your denial was incorrect and based on what reasons you should be still deemed qualified for the SIV program. Your supervisor should defend and support your SIV case.

For more information, read Guide for COM Appeal (English)

I have already appealed. How long will appeal approval take?

Timings are very hard to estimate or predict as each applicant’s processing time is different. For general information about getting COM approval, visit Guide on Reviewing and Updating your Afghan SIV COM Application

My appeal was denied. Can I still appeal for second time?

No, you can only make one appeal within the allowed 120 days time-frame. If you believe you still qualify for the SIV program, then apply with a fresh, new SIV application using new documents. 

Do keep in mind you might still need to fix your old problems first before applying again. 

SIV Contact Information


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