This guide lists the requirements for your human resources letter and recommendation letter for your SIV application.
This guide also describes Project Rabbit. Project Rabbit is a way that people who worked for contractors for the Department of Defense can verify their employment.
Background on applying for a Special Immigrant Visa:
- The current requirements for an SIV are on the Department of State’s SIV website here.
- You must include all the documents in your application to the Chief of Mission (COM).
- If you already submitted your COM application and are waiting for a decision, you can email new documents to AfghanSIVApplication@state.gov to add to your pending COM application. Look here for information about what you can do while your COM application is pending.
For people who worked for contractors for the Department of Defense, you can verify employment by getting the HR letter from your employer and a letter of recommendation from your supervisor.
Many people do not have all of these documents. In August 2021, the US government announced a process that applicants who worked for a Department of Defense can also use to show that they have eligible work. This process is called Project Rabbit. More information about Project Rabbit is below.
COM must verify your employment by or on behalf of the U.S government, ISAF, or a successor mission. You must show that you worked for at least one year.
You must obtain the following letters from each U.S. company or organization you worked for:
- Letter of employment verification from the Human Resources department; and
- Letter of recommendation from your direct supervisor. If your supervisor is not available, the person in their job or a more senior person in the organization can write the letter.
Important note: Before Fall 2021, the State Department required that a U.S. citizen write or co-sign a letter of recommendation. The State Department has confirmed that there is currently no requirement that a letter of recommendation be written or signed by a U.S. citizen. The State Department’s guidance says that it is “helpful” if the U.S. citizen responsible for a contract co-signs a letter by a supervisor who is not a U.S. citizen and affirms that they are confident the information is correct. However, this is not a requirement. If the National Visa Center requires that you submit a letter from a U.S. citizen supervisor, you can explain that this is no longer a requirement. If your application is delayed or denied on this basis, you can request assistance through IRAP’s COM denial assistance form here.
Look here for IRAP’s guide on how to find your supervisor or employer. These people must have worked with you during your employment. IRAP’s guide on how to obtain proof that your work qualifies for the SIV program is here.
COM will need to verify your employment by or on behalf of the U.S government, or by ISAF or a successor mission. You must show that you worked for at least one year.
You may qualify for an SIV if:
- You worked directly with ISAF or a successor mission;
- You worked directly for the U.S. government; or
- Your company had a contract or subcontract with the United States government.
If you worked directly for the U.S. government, ISAF, or ISAF’s successor mission, submit your employment verification letter. This is a letter from your company’s human resources department. This is called the HR letter. It should be on the agency letterhead and should prove that your work qualifies. More information on what your employment letters should include is available below.
Letter of Employment Verification from Human Resources (HR letter)
Make sure your HR letter has the following information:
- Applicant’s full name
- Applicant’s date of birth
- Contract information for all contracts and/or subcontracts:
- Project name
- Contract number
- Duration of contract
- Name of contractor company
- Contracting U.S. government entity
- If your employer was a subcontractor, include the information above about both the prime contract and subcontract
- If available, include a copy of the contract or subcontract
- Applicant’s job title
- Applicant’s job location
- Start date of employment (date, month, year)
- End date of employment (date, month, year)
- Reason for separation from the job (if no longer employed)
- HR Representative Information:
- Name of HR representative completing the HR letter
- Their original signature
- Their email address
- Their phone number
- The date the letter was signed
- If your employer does not have an HR unit, the letter writer should explain that.
- Only for ISAF employees: A description of the applicant’s work that required the applicant to either:
- Work as an interpreter or translator for U.S. military personnel while traveling off-base with U.S. military personnel stationed at ISAF; or
- To perform activities for U.S. military personnel stationed at ISAF.
What if my company does not exist anymore or does not have records about my employment?
If your company does not exist anymore or does not have records, ask your supervisor or a more senior person to write a letter. This letter should be separate from the letter of recommendation. The letter should:
- Explain that the company does not exist anymore or does not have records.
- List the start and end date of your employment.
- List the reason for separation from the company.
- Include as much of the information listed above as possible for HR letter requirements.
You should also try to get as many letters from supervisors or more senior people as possible. These supervisors should list when they worked with you in their letters. This will help you prove as much qualifying employment as possible.
Letter of Recommendation from a Supervisor
Who can write the letter?
- Your direct supervisor who must have known you during the employment listed in your employment letter.
- If your direct supervisor is no longer available, then the person currently in their job, or a more senior person at the organization may write your recommendation letter.
The letter must include:
- Applicant information:
- Date of birth
- Badge number (if available)
- Job title
- Job location
- Description of the applicant’s work duties
- Supervisor Information:
- Confirmation that the recommender is/was the applicant’s supervisor (if applicable)
- Start and end date of supervision (day, month, year)
- Justification for recommending the applicant for COM approval (including that the applicant provided faithful and valuable service to the U.S.)
- Explanation of threats the applicant has experienced because of the employment
- Opinion on whether the applicant is a threat to the national security or safety of the U.S.
- Supervisor’s name, title, corporate or U.S. government/military email address, personal email address, and phone number
- Supervisor’s signature with a pen and date the letter is signed
- There is now NO requirement that you worked as an interpreter or translator, or performed sensitive and trusted activities. If you received a denial with this language, please visit IRAP’s guide for COM denial on this ground.
What do I do if the National Visa Center or Chief of Mission requests that a U.S. citizen write my recommendation letter?
Before Fall 2021, the State Department required that a U.S. citizen write or co-sign a letter of recommendation. The State Department has confirmed that there is currently no requirement that a letter of recommendation be written or signed by a U.S. citizen. The State Department’s guidance says that it is “helpful” if the U.S. citizen responsible for a contract co-signs a letter by a supervisor who is not a U.S. citizen and affirms that they are confident the information is correct. However, this is not a requirement. If the National Visa Center requires that you submit a letter from a U.S. citizen supervisor, you can explain that this is no longer a requirement. If your application is delayed or denied on this basis, you can request assistance through IRAP’s COM denial assistance form here.
How can I prove my work if I don’t have these documents?
Project Rabbit allows the Department of Defense to directly contact employers to verify information about Afghan employees. This can verify employment for SIV applicants. This letter in English gives some information about Project Rabbit.
You still have to submit an SIV application to the Department of State before the Project Rabbit verification process can help you. To start an SIV application, applicants should follow the directions on this State Department website.
Instructions for applicants:
The Project Rabbit process is intended to help applicants confirm their employment through the Department of Defense. The Department of Defense is the U.S. government agency that includes all of the branches of the U.S. military, including the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force. Linked here is a list of all agencies that are part of the US Department of Defense. If you worked on a contract or a grant for USAID, the State Department, or any other government agency, this process will not help you.
- If you have contact with your employer, ask them if the Department of Defense has contacted them about Project Rabbit. If they have been contacted, ask them to make sure that they submitted your employment information through Project Rabbit.
- If you have contact with your employer or your supervisor, you can also ask them to provide you with human resources and supervisor letters under the standard process. That process was explained above. You can try both ways to verify your work if you worked for the Department of Defense.
- Unfortunately, the Department of Defense does not currently have a way for companies to ask to participate in Project Rabbit.
Start your SIV application
Contact NVC and write that you want to start an SIV application.
- You must provide your biographic data, statement of threats, and Form DS-157. The State Department’s instructions about the required information is here.
- Include as much information about your work as you can. Provide all of the documentation that you have for your work for the U.S. government. You should include:
- Any human resources letters that you have
- Any letters of recommendation that you have
- Any contracts or pay stubs that you have
- Any other evidence of your work, including badges or certificates from your work
- Send this information and documents to AfghanSIVApplication@state.gov
- Write in your email: “I do not have all of the required documents and I will use Project Rabbit to verify my work.”
- NVC may take a few days or weeks to respond to you. NVC will respond and give you a case number that starts with “NVCSIV.”
- NVC will also tell you the information that you need for the Chief of Mission process.
You or your relative may want to ask an immigration attorney for help with this process. Here are a few resources:
- Information about asking for help from IRAP is here.
- If you are in Jordan, you can ask for IRAP Jordan’s help using this form. If the form is closed, you can check back at a later date.
- A list of free immigration legal service providers in the United States is available here.
- A list of private immigration attorneys in the United States is available here.