Senior officials told reporters that US officials on Monday announced changes to the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process for Afghans, requiring applicants to file only one form so that applications can go through a single government agency.
Beginning July 20, new applicants — some in the SIV pipeline — will no longer need to send a separate petition for special immigrant status to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), meaning the entire process is now overseen by the State Department. .
“This new streamlined process, which is part of our ongoing efforts to make the program more efficient, is designed to eliminate barriers for applicants, and to ensure that the program is more efficient,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Meyerkas said in a joint statement. This will help reduce the application time.”
After nearly 20 years of war, the US and its allies left Afghanistan in August 2021, helping to evacuate more than 130,000 Afghans in the chaotic situation in Kabul in the past weeks.
Many of those Afghans had hoped for life in the U.S. The SIV program, a decades-old special immigrant visa program, helps military interpreters and others who have worked on government-funded contracts on their way to a permanent resident in the United States. Worked to move to America. card, also known as green card.
In a call with reporters, Biden administration officials said the changes could reduce processing times to “about a month.”
“We anticipate that, at the very least, this change in procedure will remove about a month from the time of adjudication, but more importantly, I think, will reduce a large administrative burden on the visa applicant. So, the process from the US can be relaxed by a month or potentially more on the government side. … It will be much easier for the applicants as well,” said a senior government official.
The call was conducted on the background, and Biden officials asked senior administration officials to respond. Representatives from the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services answered questions from members of the media.
Biden officials said there are 74,274 applicants in the SIV pipeline, not including spouses and children. Of them, 10,096 prime applicants have already received the approval of the head of mission – a significant step forward in SIV application. A senior government official, including family members of those who have received this approval, said they estimate 45,000 to 50,000 SIV recipients.
SIV applications typically go through a lengthy 14-step application process, which requires specific criteria to be met. The process, including decision making and approval, takes an average of three years. Applicants must obtain a visa before entering the United States.
In the call, Biden officials said that although all new Afghan SIV applicants – and most applicants already in the pipeline – will no longer be required to submit a separate 19-page form to USCIS, the “bottom line” is the United States. The state would be America. All the necessary and necessary information is still needed to process one’s SIV application.
“But it will be one form instead of two, and I think the new, revised form that will be submitted to the State Department, while it still contains all the important information, I believe will be a shorter form to fill out.” Form is there,” said a senior official.
Various US agencies were involved in determining what kind of information an applicant would need to submit in the new form.
“There were a lot of redundancies in the previous process which will be eliminated in this,” a senior official said in the call.