Legal Resources for Afghans

LEGAL RESOURCES FOR AFGHANS

This page will be updated with community resources, instructional videos, documents translated to Dari and Pashto, and other updates for Afghan clients. For complete information from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), visit Information for Afghan Nationals. 

Last updated 02/08/2024.

ON THIS PAGE

– Pro Bono (Free) & Low-Cost Legal Services
– Humanitarian Parolees
– Re-Parole Toolkit
– TPS & Fee Waiver Toolkit
– Online EAD Application Toolkit
– Applying for Special Immigrant Visa (SIV)
– Family Reunification Toolkit for Afghan Parolees-DS-4317
– Adjustment of Status Toolkit

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Scroll through the titles below to view recent announcements.  Click any headline to read more.

Afghan Client Resources at IILA

NOTICE: The United States immigration system is facing system-wide backlogs and delays in processing applications. Resettlement agencies and immigration attorneys across the country are facing a significant number of pending cases and increased processing times. We strongly urge Afghan clients to consult with an immigration attorney, as well as utilize the resources on this page for their asylum application or pending SIV application.

Update on the proposed Afghan Adjustment Act: IILA is calling on Congress to pass the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would allow Afghans on humanitarian parole to adjust their status to permanent residence (green cards) without applying for asylum. We currently don’t know whether this will pass or when it may take effect. More information here.

RESOURCES FOR AFGHAN CLIENTS

Are you an Afghan individual who has been granted humanitarian parole?

You may be eligible for cash assistance, medical assistance, employment preparation, job placement, English language training, and other services offered through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). You may also be eligible for federal “mainstream” (non-ORR funded) benefits, such as cash assistance through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), health insurance through Medicaid, and food assistance through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Office of Refugee Resettlement
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Effective June 9, 2023, through July 31, 2024, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will consider, on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit, a two-year extension of the original parole period for Afghan parolees who have already applied for asylum or for adjustment to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status (such as adjustment of status as a special immigrant). This is in recognition of the continued urgent humanitarian reasons and significant public benefit underlying the original parole grant and the time necessary for Afghan parolees to accomplish the purpose of their parole and regularize their immigration status. These Afghan parolees who have already applied for asylum or LPR status do NOT need to apply for re-parole.  If approved, USCIS will extend their original employment authorization and send a Form I-797C, Notice of Additional Action, to their last address of record with USCIS.

If these Afghan parolees require an updated Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in addition to the Form I-797C, they may file a fee-exempt Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with USCIS under category c(11).

We understand the need for re-parole to provide continuity in lawful presence and the ability to work and support one’s family while pursuing a more permanent immigration status. For this reason, certain Afghan parolees in the United States who have NOT YET filed for any immigration benefit, or who have applied for a temporary benefit such as Temporary Protected Status, may NOW APPLY for re-parole and employment authorization through a new streamlined and fee-exempted application process that is available online and on paper.  USCIS will exempt application fees for these applicants for re-parole by using Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. These applicants who self-file for re-parole will also be able to request an EAD using the same Form I-131.

USCIS will accept and consider, on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit, re-parole requests under section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act from certain noncitizen Afghans paroled into the United States. Afghan nationals who were paroled into the United States from July 31, 2021, through June 8, 2023, and have an “OAR” or “PAR” class of admission on their Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, are eligible for the fee exemption from June 8, 2023, through July 31, 2024. This reflects the DHS’s commitment to providing Afghan nationals with a streamlined process to request re-parole and an EAD.

The process to request fee-exempt re-parole for certain Afghan nationals will be available both online and via paper filing. A new Re-Parole Process for Certain Afghans webpage will provide information on the process and step-by-step instructions on how to apply for re-parole.

  • To apply for fee-exempt re-parole and an EAD on the 06/06/23 edition of Form I-131, the applicant must:
    • Select “I am outside of the United States, and I am applying for Advance Parole Document” on the paper application in Part 2, Item 1.e.;
    • Mark “Y” for the question, “Are you applying for re-parole?”; and
    • Mark “Y” in Part 8 for the question, “I am requesting an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) upon approval of my new Operation Allies Welcome (OAW) period of parole” to request a fee-exempt EAD.
  • Do not submit a separate Form I-765 with your Form I-131. If you submit Form I-765 with your request for re-parole, we may reject your application or take longer to process it.
  • Applicants filing by paper and using the 10/31/22 edition of Form I-131 before Aug. 8, 2023, should write “OAW EAD” on the top of the form, regardless of whether they have a PAR or OAR class of admission.

If your initial EAD is expiring, you must indicate you would like to renew your EAD when filing Form I-131 through this new streamlined process.

If you are an Afghan national and applied for re-parole through Form I-131 before June 8, 2023, when this new streamlined application process was not yet available, you may submit a new request using this process to receive the fee exemption and concurrent EAD processing. Please see the Afghan Nationals Re-Parole FAQs webpage for more information on the options available to you.

APPLICATION TOOLKIT – Click the link below to download the toolkit, which includes the following: I-131 instructions and re-parole application, re-parole presentation slides.

DOWNLOAD TOOLKIT

PASHTO RE-PAROLE I-131

DARI RE-PAROLE I-131

VIDEO: Form I-131, Afghan Re-Parole (USCIS)

What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

TPS is an immigration status granted to eligible nationals of a designated country or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in consultation with the Secretary of State is authorized to designate a foreign state for TPS based on an emergency, such as an ongoing armed conflict or environmental disaster, that temporarily prevents nationals who are in the United States from returning safely to the designated county.

TPS beneficiaries who register by the specified date are eligible to remain in the Unites States during the TPS designation period and receive protection from deportation. They may also apply for employment authorization and advance parole travel permission during their grant of TPS.

Who is eligible for TPS for Afghanistan?

To be granted TPS, an applicant must be a national of Afghanistan or a noncitizen with no nationality who last habitually resided in Afghanistan. He or she must also prove continuous residence in the United States since March 15, 2022, and continuous physical presence in the United States since May 20, 2022. Absences that are "brief, casual and innocent" do not prevent applicants from showing continuous residence or continuous physical presence. Likewise, a brief temporary trip abroad required because of an emergency or extenuating circumstances outside the applicant's control will not break continuous residence.

The applicant must apply within the registration period that runs from May 20, 2022, through Nov. 20, 2023, unless he or she qualifies for late initial registration. An otherwise eligible individual is disqualified from TPS if he or she:

  • Has been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States;
  • Is found inadmissible as an immigrant under the applicable grounds in INA § 212(a), including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds; or
  • Is subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum found at INA § 208(b)(2)(A).
For more information:

APPLICATION TOOLKIT – Click the link below to download the presentation slides and collected/translated documents in English, Dari, and Pashto from IILA’s Afghan Legal Representation Project (ALRP).  Documents include overview presentations, application instructions, and checklists for applying for TPS and fee waivers.

DOWNLOAD TOOLKIT

TPS Fee Waiver November 15, 2023 Legal Clinic

Click the link below to download the toolkit.

DOWNLOAD TOOLKIT

The Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) is an immigration program that grants permanent residence to people who aided the U.S. government abroad. If you are currently applying for Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) or awaiting Chief of Mission (COM) approval, we strongly recommend that you also apply for asylum and Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

U.S. Department of State

International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)

The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Department of State, has initiated efforts to reunite U.S. citizens and Afghans in the United States with their family members who remain in Afghanistan. This program is a unique program created specifically for Afghans and as a result, is not fully comprehensible. The only details the U.S. Government has provided about the program is that specific family members who remain in Afghanistan may be eligible for assistance from the U.S. government to leave Afghanistan and upon approval, enter the United States. When, where, how and to whom this departure information will be communicated remain unknown.

If the U.S. Government can help your family members depart Afghanistan, they will travel to a country where they can complete the refugee process. Your family members must have a valid passport. After completing refugee processing, your family members will only be able to enter the United States upon approval by U.S. immigration officials.

You should NOT travel to Afghanistan to accompany your family members! Doing so may prejudice your pending asylum, SIV and/or green card decision in the United States. Also, the U.S. Government will not help your family members depart more quickly if you are in Afghanistan.


Click below to download the toolkit, which includes presentation slides and a fact sheet in English, Dari, and Pashto.

DOWNLOAD TOOLKIT

ALERT: If you file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, on or after Dec. 23, 2022, you must use the 12/23/22 edition of Form I-485 or we will reject your filing. If you file Form I-485 before Dec. 23, 2022, you must use the 07/15/22 edition of Form I-485 or we will reject your filing.

If you file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, on or after Dec. 23, 2022, you must use the 12/23/22 edition of Form I-485 or we will reject your filing. If you file Form I-485 before Dec. 23, 2022, you must use the 07/15/22 edition of Form I-485 or we will reject your filing.

On Sept. 9, 2022, DHS published the Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility final rule to provide clarity and consistency for noncitizens on how DHS will administer the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The new final rule will go into effect on Dec. 23, 2022, and requires collection of information in the new 12/23/2022 edition of Form I-485.

Preview versions of the new 12/23/2022 edition of Form I-485 and form instructions were published on Regulations.gov on Sept. 9, 2022. Preview versions of the new Form I-485 and form instructions were also published on uscis.gov on Nov. 23, 2022.

USCIS has published the final 12/23/22 edition of Form I-485 for applicants to prepare their applications in advance of Dec. 23, 2022. DO NOT file the 12/23/22 edition of Form I-485 before Dec. 23, 2022. USCIS will reject any Form I-485 with the edition date of 12/23/22 filed before Dec. 23, 2022.

What to Know About Sending Us Your Form

·       We will reject the 07/15/22 edition of Form I-485 if it is postmarked on or after Dec. 23, 2022.

·       We will reject the 12/23/22 edition of Form I-485 if it is postmarked on or before Dec. 22, 2022.

*For filings sent by commercial courier (such as UPS, FedEx and DHL), the postmark date is the date reflected on the courier receipt.

DOWNLOAD TOOLKIT

APPLYING FOR ASYLUM

Asylum is a form of legal protection for people who are physically present in the United States, who suffered and/or fear future persecution in their home country.

 

Aslyum 101 for Afghans Videos

English

Pashto پښتو

Dari درى

International Institute of Los Angeles – Afghan Legal Representation Project (ALRP)

IILA clients who wish to receive services through IILA’s ALRP will need to return signed copies of the following forms, as well as a completed I-589 in Dari or Pashto or English (to the best of their ability) by May 27, 2022:

The I-589 should be initially completed in Dari or Pashto in the majority of cases so that the members of the family can review what was submitted before the Asylum Interview.  Consistency between what is written on I-589 and what is said in the Asylum Interview is critical.

IILA clients who need a Dari or Pashto speaking volunteer to assist with completing the forms and the I-589 should let their case manager know so that we can match them with a volunteer.

IILA Asylum Orientation
May 9, 2022

How to Fill Form I-589
(Dari درى)

How to Fill Form I-589
(Pashto پښتو)

How to Install and use Webex Meeting
(Dari درى)

How to Install and use Webex Meeting
(Pashto پښتو)

How to Create and Join Zoom meeting
(Dari درى)

How to Create and Join Zoom meeting
(Pashto پښتو)

National Immigrant Justice Center

VECINA

HIAS/ABA – Asylum Toolkits

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

FOR COMMUNITY MEMBERS

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

As the US immigration system, resettlement agencies, and immigration attorneys across the country are facing major delays and increased caseloads, IILA is launching the Afghan Legal Representation Project (ALRP) to ensure that our clients are on track to submit their asylum application.

IILA’s ALRP will work to match Afghan clients with legal professionals and non-legal volunteers to assist with their immigration-related applications. Sign up today or share this opportunity with others!

Legal Professionals & Law Students

We are looking for legal professionals and law students who are interested in providing pro bono legal assistance to Afghan evacuees, which may include asylum, Special Immigrant Visa, P1/2 refugee status, Temporary Protected Status, and other legal applications.

SIGN UP HERE

Non-Legal Volunteers & Dari/Pashto Translators

We are looking for volunteers who can provide assistance to Afghans applying for asylum and other legal matters. Tasks may include helping to fill out applications, translating documents in Dari/Pashto, proof-reading, delivering documents, and other non-legal tasks.

SIGN UP HERE

RESOURCES FOR IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS


VECINA Training Course on SIVs

ABA Resources

CLINIC Resources

DHS Resources

USCIS has posted resources on Afghanistan, including the process for Afghan nationals to apply for humanitarian parole as well as immigration relief available to those present in the United States:


Additional Resources

Listservs to join
  • PALA (AfghanLegalAssist@googlegroups.com)
  • AILA (afghanevacuations@lists.aila.org)

International Institute of Los Angeles is a proud member of the Welcome.US Coalition.