January 4, 2015
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul announces the extension of the SQ Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program for Afghans.
On December 19, 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015. This law extends the SQ SIV program for certain Afghan nationals who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Afghanistan. It also authorizes 4000 additional SIV numbers for principal applicants. In addition, the law expands the SIV program to include certain Afghans employed by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
The Afghan SIV program will end when all 4000 visas are issued, or on March 31, 2017, unless it is further extended by the U.S. Congress.
The new deadline for Afghans to apply for Chief of Mission approval under the SQ SIV program is now December 31, 2015. The period for accruing at least one year of necessary employment for SQ SIV applicants is now October 7, 2001 to September 30, 2015.
Information is forthcoming on the U.S. Department of State’s travel website, www.travel.state.gov, regarding the documentary requirements for qualifying ISAF employees to apply for Chief of Mission approval, the first step in the SQ SIV application process. The NDAA limits participation to those ISAF employees in a capacity requiring that the employee either:
- While traveling off-base with U.S. military personnel stationed at ISAF, serve as an interpreter or translator for such personnel; or
- Perform sensitive and trusted duties for U.S. military personnel stationed at ISAF.
More information on the Afghan SIV program can be found at http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/types/afghans-work-for-us.html