Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The United States will streamline the application process for special visas for Afghan immigrants

The United States Will Streamline The Application Process For Special Visas For Afghan Immigrants

US officials on Monday announced a change to the special immigrant visa (SIV) process for Afghans in which applicants will need to submit only one form so that applications can go through a single government agency, senior officials told reporters.

Beginning July 20, new applicants, some in the SIV process, will no longer need to submit a separate petition to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for special immigrant status, which means the The entire process is now overseen by the State Department.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a joint statement: “This new streamlined process, which is part of our ongoing efforts to make the program more efficient, will help remove barriers for applicants and reduce application times.”

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 last few weeks in Kabul.

Many of those Afghans hoped to have a life in the U.S. The SIV program, a decade-old special immigrant visa program, helps military interpreters and others who worked on government-funded contracts move to the United States. United in a direct path to a permanent resident. card, also known as a green card.

In a call with reporters, Biden administration officials said the changes may cut processing times by “about a month.”

“We anticipate that, at a minimum, this process change will cut about a month off the adjudication time, but I think more importantly, it will alleviate a huge administrative burden on the visa applicant. The government side of the US can be relieved in a month or potentially longer… It will also be much easier for applicants,” a senior government official said.

The call took place in the background, with Biden officials asking to attribute the responses to senior administration officials. Representatives from the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs and US Citizenship and Immigration Services answered questions from members of the media.

Biden officials said there are 74,274 applicants in the SIV pipeline, excluding spouses and children. Of these, 10,096 main applicants have already received the approval of the head of mission, a crucial step in the SIV application. Including family members of those who have received such approval, a senior government official said they estimate between 45,000 and 50,000 SIV beneficiaries.

SIV applications typically go through a lengthy 14-step application process, which requires meeting specific criteria. The process, including decision-making and approval, takes an average of three years. The applicant must receive the visa before entering the United States.

On the call, Biden officials said that while all new Afghan SIV applicants, and most applicants already in the pipeline, will no longer have to submit a separate 19-page form to USCIS, the “bottom line” is that the United States still needs all the necessary and required information to process someone’s SIV application.

“But it will be one form instead of two, and I think the new revised form that will be sent to the State Department, while it still contains all the critical information, I think it’s a shorter form to fill out.” a senior official said.

Several US agencies were involved in determining what type of information an applicant must submit on the new form.

“There were many dismissals in the previous process that will be eliminated in this one,” said a senior official in the call.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
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