Afghan SIV Appeal Help

So, you have been denied?

If you have received the dreaded denial letter for your SIV case, then you have come to the correct page for help. This page attempts to give a general, step-by-step simple explanation and instructions for appealing your case.

This page is organized into following sections:

  1. Common reasons for SIV case denials
  2. Understanding your denial letter
  3. What does appeal mean?
  4. How appeal works?
  5. Common appeal mistakes
  6. Common appeal questions
  7. Who to contact for appeal help?
    • Association of Wartime Allies (AWA)
    • International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
    • No One Left Behind
    • Senators in US Congress

1. Common reasons for SIV case denials

The top four common reasons for SIV cases denied are the following:

  • Failure to establish employment by or on behalf of the U.S. government, or failure to
    establish qualifying employment by ISAF or a successor mission:

    • This means that you were not able to show good proof that you worked for U.S. government or ISAF mission.
    • You failed to provide Human Resources (HR) letter verifying your employment with a company that had contract with U.S. government.
    • Your HR letter did not have the US government contract number listed.
    • Your employment did not qualify for the SIV program such as being shopkeeper, contractor, etc.
  • Failure to establish the required length of employment by or on behalf of the U.S.
    government, or by ISAF or a successor mission:

    • Your employment did not complete the 24 month period. For example, you only worked for 15 months.
    • Note: If you applied for SIV after October 1, 2015, then you need 24 month period employment. If you applied before  October 1, 2015, then you need 12 month employment.
  • Failure to establish providing faithful and valuable service to the U.S. government:
    • Not having positive recommendation letter or recommendation letter not getting verified by supervisor.
    • Being terminated, blacklisted, Counter Intelligence (CI) screening failed, Polygraph failed or security ineligible.
    • If you abandoned your job or left job without giving proper resignation.
  • Derogatory information associated with the applicant that is incompatible with the requirements of the SIV program:
    • Generally this means that SIV applicant failed their background check and were found to have engaged in an unlawful, unethical, criminal, or terrorism-related activity
      • For example: You were caught taking bribes from contractors or stealing items from the American base.
      • During background security checks, the US government will check everything against you from telephone contacts, facebook profiles, friends, emails, travel history, etc. If the security checks find anything suspicious or strange, then it will negatively impact your case up-to including getting denied.

2. Understanding your denial letter

  • This is a denial letter that was received by an applicant.
  • Each denial letter will list the reason and explanation for the SIV case denial.
  • If you receive denial letter, then perform following steps:
    1. Read and understand your denial letter very, very carefully. Try to understand the denial reason.
    2. Do not lose hope! Not all is lost. You still have chance for SIV.
    3. Read the IRAP Guide for COM Appeal.
    4. You will be only given 120 days to appeal your denial from the date you receive the letter.
    5. Most importantly, appeal does not mean sending old documents again!

3. What does appeal mean?

Appeal in Farsi dictionary means:

حقوق) فرجام، استیناف، پژوهش‌خواهی، فرجام دادن، پژوهش‌خواهی کردن، استیناف دادن)

Basically, it means that you do not agree with a denial decision and want to reverse the US embassy’s decision by submitting documents / proofs that supports your SIV case approval. You have to show proof and convince US embassy based on what reason your SIV case should be approved.

Special Note: Appeal does not mean sending your old documents again! You must send new documents that support your claim to have your SIV application approved.

4. How appeal works?

Appeal works by sending new documents that support your reasons for getting your SIV case approved and why the US embassy should reverse their decision. Since each applicant will have different denial reason, it is very difficult to give a simple, standard answer for all denied cases. There is no magical appeal letter template that will get your SIV case approved. I wish there was such thing.

For more information, read IRAP’s Guide for COM Appeal

5. Common Appeal Mistakes

Some common appeal mistakes include the following:

  1. Sending old documents again instead of providing new documents to support your SIV approval.
  2. Not fixing your document or issues first before appealing.
    • For example, your HR letter needs the contract number or recommendation letter missing hand signature in pen ink.
  3. Waiting too long and missing the 120 days deadline for appeal.
    • If you miss the 120 days deadline, then you should fix all documents and case problems first and submit new application.

6. Common Appeal Questions

  1. Does appeal mean sending the same, old documents again?
    • No, appeal does not mean sending old documents again. You have to send new documents to support your SIV approval.
  2. Why my appeal is taking too long?
    • Unfortunately, the process of appeal is very slow. It could take 6, 12 or even more months for your appeal to be approved.
  3. Why my appeal was not approved?
    • According to Sate Department’s report, about 50% of appeal cases get approved. As everyone’s case is different with different circumstance, it makes it very difficult to give one standard answer for all appeal cases.
    • Your appeal might not be approved for variety of reasons including the common mistakes above.
    • If your appeal gets denied, then you will need to apply again with new application from the start.
    • Make sure to fix all of your problems first before applying new SIV application.

7. Who to contact for appeal help?

For appeal help, you may contact the following places:

International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) organization

IRAP is a non-profit organization that provides free SIV and refugee help through their immigration lawyers.

IRAP is not accepting new SIV cases at moment. Visit their self-help website to get valuable information.

– Do not contact IRAP! – 

IRAP organization has published an excellent Guide for COM Denial Appeals.

This guide is for Afghans who:

  1. Worked in Afghanistan for the U.S. government, a company with a U.S. government contract, or the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) or a successor mission, and
  2. Submitted an application for Chief of Mission (COM) approval to the National Visa Center (NVC) and
  3. Received a denial letter from NVC denying their application for COM approval less than 120 days ago and
  4. Want to appeal the denial.

You can appeal your COM denial within 120 days of the day that you received your COM denial letter from NVC.

You can only appeal your denial one time. Multiple appeals are not accepted. If your appeal gets denied, you will need to submit a new COM application for approval. You need to fix or address your previous problems before applying again.

This guide is also very helpful for all Afghan SIV applicants waiting for their COM approval and points out common issues they need to check to avoid getting denied. 

Please use following links to read the COM Appeal Guide in your choice of language.

For English version:

For Dari version:

For Pashto version:

Association of Wartime Allies (AWA) 

AWA is an American association headquartered in Rochester, New York that provides SIV case advocacy, limited case assistance and resettlement support in Rochester area.

All Afghan SIV applicants are encouraged to join our Facebook group “AWA SIV Advocacy

Facebook group:

AWA can be contacted at:

Contact Senators in US Congress

The senators in US Congress can help a lot with denied and stuck cases. They have staff members that can follow up and put pressure on the US State Department or US Kabul embassy about your case.

Have your American friends, supervisors and other green card holder Afghan friends contact their own senators for help with your case.

One of the strongest SIV program supporter is: Senator Shaheen 

Watch this video to learn how to contact US senators for help. Share this video with your American friends and supervisors.


No One Left Behind (NOLB) organization

NOLB is a non-profit organization that exclusively helps Afghan and Iraqi SIV applicants. They are not part of the US government and are a civilian organization.

The best way to contact NOLB organization for help with your SIV denied case is if your American military friends or supervisor contacts the organization about your case.

NOLB organization is not helping with appeal cases anymore.

– Do not contact NOLB! –


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