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SIV Process

 

Obtaining a Special Immigrant Visa or SIV is a 14-step process.

USCIS
To check on a SIV application case status online with USICS:
https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do
+800 375-5283

SIV holders , once they get the Visa stamp, may get to the US by any means to a port of entry. They can wait on state or if they buy their own flight. If they come themselves, it changes some of the benefit chain upon arrival but doable.

When an SIV receives their Visa stamp, the normal process is to then wait for a DoS arranged flight. Prior to August 2021 it could be a 6 month wait for that flight. If they fly in on a DoS flight, they are handed off to an NGO in the states that receives the SIVs welcome money from the US Gov and spends it on behalf of the SIV. The SIV does not have a say in how the NGO uses the welcome money since it is held in escrow by the NGO and after 90 days any remaining funds are given to the SIV. The NGOs use this to help setup apartments (usually low rent) with minimal furniture and use the funds for whatever they decide. The funds are designed for 90 days of support/escrow and often times after 90 days the SIV is then on their own to pay rent, etc.

Getting Out of Afghanistan via a Lily Pad. Some SIV holders and pending SIVs have made their way out of Afghanistan. Those who get to a DoD 'lily pad' are fortunate - they will find their way into the process of getting to a U.S. military camp and on to aided resettlement.

Making Their Own Way to the U.S. If the SIV travels on their own it helps to have a stateside sponsor receive them and get them tied into a support system. The sponsor can help get their food stamp benefits, Medicaid, etc. setup sometimes even prior to arrival. The welcome money then goes directly to the SIV.

Complicated Process. It is difficult for Americans involved in the Afghan Evac effort to understand the complicated and bureaucratic Special Immigrant Visa process. Now imagine being an Afghan on the run, hiding from the Taliban, using a cheap Nokia cell phone for internet access, not understanding Engish very well, and trying to got through all the steps of working the SIV process over the internet.

How Can I Check my Visa Status? The Consular Electronic Applications Center (CEAC) allows foreigners and their legal representatives to check the status of their U.S. visa applications online. The Upcounsel lawyers have provided a webpage that explains the process. See "CEAC Visa Status: Everything You Need to Know."
https://www.upcounsel.com/ceac-visa-status

Types of Visa Status. When Afghans check the CEAC online site for the status of their Special Immigrant Visa they will be notified of the progress of their visa. The different responses can be confusing. They include "Ready", "Refused", and "Issued".

Refused. The Department of State is contributing to the confusion on SIV status.

"Refused" could possibly be the status of someone who has done their SIV interview before the Kabul embassy closed in August 2021 but hadn't been asked to send their passport in for the visa stamp. Refused doesn't mean necessarily mean denied. It is apparently could be a normal step between "Ready" for your interview and visa "Issued" (visa printed in passport) signifying that the interview has been conducted.

Of course, "Refused" can also mean ineligible. Some refusals are due to a lack of medical exam while others are more serious like fraud and vetting.

Simply Put. Issued = issued; Refused = not issued. Not issued could mean several things. It could mean that more paperwork is required, a positive TB test, security risk, or anything else. Each case needs to be examined for the specific reason.

If the primary traveler is refused, but all other family members are issued, the other members cannot travel - they are contingent on primary being approved and the primary traveling with the family members.

The only action is to have someone within the State Department look up each name to verify the reason for the "Refused" status. Leave it to the State Department to complicate and even more complicated situation. Is that why they are known as "Foggy Bottom"?

 

 

 


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