Afghan SIV Application Process Explained step-by-step
Updated: December 24, 2020
Note: This Afghan SIV guide is a summary instruction for the Afghan SIV program along with document samples provided. For full, official instructions please visit: Afghan SIV web-page. This is not a replacement for the official instructions but attempts to provide a simpler instruction guide for the Afghan SIV program. Always follow official instructions.
Quick guide: watch SIV video tutorials
Eligibility requirements to apply for Afghan SIV program are:
- Must be the citizen of Afghanistan. Living inside Afghanistan at the time of application is not required.
- Two-year Human Resources (HR) letter showing employment for at least 2 years that provided faithful service to U.S. government.
- Recommendation letter from U.S. citizen supervisor.
The Afghan Special Immigration Visa (SIV) program consists of five following steps:
Step 1 – Applying for COM Approval
Step 2 – Filling I-360 Petition with USCIS
Step 3 – Submitting DS-260 Application
Step 4 – The Visa Interview
Step 5 – Arriving in the United States
Step 1 – Applying for COM Approval
Following items are required for Chief Of Mission (COM) approval:
- Two year employment verification (HR) letter. Employment Verification (HR) Sample Letter
- Recommendation letter from direct US citizen supervisor. SIV Recommendation Letter Sample
- Threat statement letter giving full details about threats experienced and received. Threat Statement Letter Sample
- Completed form DS-157, Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application.
- View the DS-157 2017 Sample Form.
- Scanned copy of Afghan electronic passport or tazkira with English translation.
- Biographic data. Biodata sample
- Scanned copy of employee badge, if available. Employee badge sample
How to submit for COM Approval?
After collecting all above documents, scan each one into separate PDF file. Attach all PDF files into “one email”. Send only above documents.
Send email to: AfghanSIVApplication@state.gov
Subject line: Full Name from passport with birth-date (Day/Month/Year format).
- Example: Mustafa Totakhil 25/07/1983
Sample email message:
- ” I am writing this email to apply for Chief of Mission approval for Afghan SIV program. Please see attached documentation. “
After COM submission:
- Inform both company HR office and American supervisors to reply US embassy email to confirm your documents.
- Keep checking your email regularly for COM approval notice.
- Have lots and lots of patience. Might need to wait several weeks to several months for COM approval notice.
- Don’t compare your case with other people case. Everyone will have different processing speed, even if applied together.
- Congratulations, you have completed the first step of SIV’s five step process!
Step 2 – Filling i-360 petition with USCIS
Congratulations! After receiving Chief of Mission (COM) approval, you will be required to submit I-360 petition application.
Following items are required for submitting I-360 petition to USCIS:
- A completed form i-360 petition for Special Immigrant. [ Watch i-360 tutorial video ]
- A copy of Afghan electronic passport. Make sure it is not expired.
- A copy of the letter of recommendation that was used for COM approval.
- A copy of Chief of Mission (COM) approval letter.
How to complete I-360 application?
Where to submit i-360 petition and supporting documents?
- Scan all documents into separate PDF files.
- Attach all files into “one email“.
- Send email to: NSCI360SIVAPP@uscis.dhs.gov
- Save a copy of your i-360 form. You will need it for the visa interview.
After i-360 submission:
- You will need to wait for your i-360 petition to be approved. Everyone will have different processing time, please don’t compare with other cases.
- USCIS will send you Conditional (Con) Approval. [ Conditional Approval Sample ]
Step 3 – Prepare for the visa application (DS-260)
Congratulations for getting Conditional (CON) Approval. You are now required to submit the DS-260 application for your immigrant visa interview.
The following documents are required to submit for visa interview:
- DS-260 form. [ DS-260 tutorial video ]
- A copy of Afghan electronic passport for each person in the case including children.
- Scanned copies of these documents:
- Afghan taskera with English translation for each person.
- If married, a copy of marriage certificate (Nikah Khet) with English translation.
- If divorced, a copy of your divorce certificate.
- A completed Refugee Benefits Election Form [ watch Refugee benefit tutorial ]
- A completed DS-234, Special Immigrant Visa Biodata form [ watch Refugee Benefit Tutorial ]
How to fill out and submit DS-260?
- Visit ceac.state.gov website.
- Click on “DS-260” link under the immigrant section. Open DS-260 application here .
- Enter your “Case number” ( KBL number, etc) and “invoice id”.
- Need to fill out and submit the DS-260 application for each person in the family including children.
- Completely and correctly fill out all questions.
- Submit application. No need to email DS-260 application or receipt.
- Save DS-260 receipt or confirmation page. You will need it during the visa interview.
How to email scanned copies of documents?
- Scan all documents into sperate PDF files.
- Attach all documents in one email.
- Include your full name, case number, and date of birth in the email message.
- send the email to: NVCSIV@state.gov
When will you get visa interview scheduled?
Depending on many factors such as embassy schedule, rush, and your documentation, you should expect your interview to be scheduled within several weeks to several months after submitting the DS-260 application. It is very important to wait patiently for your visa interview. Please do not compare your case with other people’s case, not everyone gets processed at the same time and same speed even if applied together.
Note: As of May 2018, currently there is an estimated 12 month waiting period to get visa interview scheduled at US Embassy Kabul due to very large number of SIV applicants pending for interview. When you turn arrives, the US Embassy Kabul will notify you 2 to 3 months in advance. It is very important to regularly keep checking your emails and try your best to attend the interview on time. If you miss your interview date for whatever reason, inform embassy to reschedule you for a new interview appointment. However, there is no guarantee you will be able to get another interview appointment quickly for the next few months.
US Embassy Kabul can be contacted at: Kabuliv@state.gov
Step 4 – The Visa Interview
Congratulations on getting visa interview scheduled! Learn how the visa interview process works.
Watch the video about visa interview process in Kabul embassy.
The following documents are generally required* during your visa interview process:
- 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 hKet) 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!
*Please pay attention and read your visa appointment letter carefully, as your case might require additional documents than those listed above.
For questions regarding visa interview process and stage, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page and read the “Visa Interview Stage” section.
Step 5 – Arrival in the United States
Congratulations for getting visa issued! Following is general advice and instruction for arrival preparations to USA:
1. If you want to apply for refugee benefits and IOM flight:
Do not wait to get visa issued. Apply for the refugee benefits/IOM flight after your embassy interview!
- Watch the Refugee Benefit Tutorial video
- After watching the tutorial video, submit one “Refugee Benefits Election form” and “DS-234 form” for each person in the siv case, including children.
- Download refugee benefit forms from below links:
- Submit completed forms and visa copies (if already issued) to: SIV@wrapsnet.org
- After getting visa issued, send copies of the US visa page for each person in the case to: SIV@wrapsnet.org
Note: Please have patience and allow enough time for the IOM to process your application and arrange your flights. The flight date priority is given based on visa expiration dates. The IOM knows and keeps track of your visa expiration date. There is no need to worry about your visa expiring before IOM arranges your flight if you have applied to IOM in timely manner.
2. If you want to travel without IOM assistance, but still want to get refugee benefits:
- After arriving to USA without IOM flight, then please contact your nearest “Refugee Resettlement Agency” and apply for refugee benefits.
- Find your “Refugee Resettlement Agency in this directory“.
- It can take 3 to 4 weeks for your refugee benefits to be approved when arriving without IOM flight.
- If come arrive without IOM, THEN YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ARRANGING YOUR OWN HOUSING. Finding housing on your own might be difficult due to lack US employment, income proof and credit history. You might not be able to rent a place without the refugee agency’s assistance.
Warning: Due to extremely high rent costs and housing shortage, refugee benefits are not available in Northern Virginia area unless you have grandparents, parents, brother/sister, wife or children ALREADY LIVING THERE. If you don’t have these family members there, YOU WILL NOT GET ANY REFUGEE ASSISTANCE IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA. No Welcome Money, No Rent or Housing Assistance.
3. For more information about arrival questions, please see the “Frequently Asked Questions” after arrival section.