About the Special Immigrant Visa Program
Congress passed the Special Immigrant Visa Programs (SIVs) in 2009. It is a set of three programs that allow the safe relocation of threatened Afghans who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. Government in Afghanistan to support the U.S. mission.
This program grants visas to people who gave support to the U.S. military, on the ground, in Afghanistan. From cultural advisors, diplomats, translators, and interpreters, security advisors, these people may have worked in any capacity to further the U.S. government’s motive.
The individuals must have been employed for at least two years and provided material information and critical intelligence by working side by side with the U.S military.
Importance of the Special Immigrant Visa
The Special Immigrant Visa acts as a pathway to safety for the individuals who have diligently contributed their time towards the U.S. government’s support.
The local allies of the U.S. are considered as traitors in Afghanistan and are targeted by various organizations and groups. The implementation of SIV becomes vital to protect the Afghani allies from getting subjected to aggression and militancy.
By providing shelter and refuge to the allies, the U.S. government assures that the allies’ threat can be mitigated. They also ensure that they can find trust and confidence in partners they associate with in the future.
Eligibility Criteria for the Program
To apply for the SIV program, an applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Must be a national of Afghanistan.
- Must have been employed in Afghanistan for two years.
- By or on behalf of the U.S. government
- By the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) or a successor mission.
- Must have provided valuable and credible information to the U.S. government, ISAF, or a successor mission.
- Must have experienced or been experiencing a severe ongoing threat to their life due to their employment.
Foreign nationals will be allowed to fill in an application only if they can establish that they meet the requirements mentioned above.
Steps to Apply for the Special Immigrant Visas
The application process to obtain a Special Immigrant Visa are as follows:
- Go through the detailed applicant guidelines and apply for Chief of Mission Approval.
- File a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with all the supporting documents.
- Prepare for the visa application.
- Appear for the visa interview
- Arrive in the United States and avail of the many benefits that come along with the program.
Special Immigrant Visas are an opportunity for the U.S. government to protect their interests and accommodate their allies’ needs. The government should authorize speedy visas to individuals who have consistently faced backlogs and are threatened for who they are and the services they provide. This is one chance for the U.S. to attest to the functions carried out by their allies, extend them support, and stand up for them in times of need.