This guide provides information about the Afghan P-2 refugee program that was announced in August 2021. The announcement is in English here. IRAP will update this guide as we learn more.
The Afghan P-2 program allows Afghan nationals to be considered for refugee resettlement based on work for U.S. government agencies, U.S.-based NGOs, and U.S.-based media organizations. IRAP’s guide about refugee resettlement is here. People who may be eligible cannot apply. They must be referred by their employer.
Resettlement via USRAP is a separate process from the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) application process. The eligibility criteria, required procedures, and status upon arrival are different.
Afghans are eligible for the P-2 if they worked in Afghanistan:
- For a U.S. government-funded program or project supported through a U.S. government grant or cooperative agreement
- Employees of sub-contractors and sub-grantees are not eligible for P-2.
- For a U.S.-based media organization
- For a U.S.-based non-governmental organization.
Afghans are also eligible for this program if their work would qualify for an SIV, but they did not work long enough to be eligible for an SIV. This includes work in Afghanistan:
- As employees of U.S. government contractors for less than one year.
- Employees of subcontractors are not eligible for P-2.
- For the U.S. government as locally-employed staff for less than one year.
- As interpreters/translators for the U.S. Government, United States Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A), International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), or Resolute Support for less than one year.
Unfortunately, the State Department has not explained how it will handle situations such as when:
- An applicant worked for longer than one year and should be eligible for an SIV, but their human resources or recommendation letters establish less than one year of work.
- An applicant worked for at least one year but was rejected for an SIV.
The P-2 program does not accept applicant self-referrals. Referrals must be made by the senior-most U.S. citizen employee of the media organization’s or NGO’s headquarters in the United States. Any individual who meets the requirements can be referred. Under current State Department guidance, this program does not require:
- A minimum length of employment on the relevant project, grant, or contract.
- Recommendation letters describing the value of the individual’s service.
- That a specific percentage of the individual’s employment be charged to U.S. funding.
The State Department has published very limited guidance about eligibility, and its descriptions of who is eligible may shift over time.
Eligible family members
If you are eligible, your employer can refer:
- Your spouse
- Your children (of any age, married or unmarried)
The State Department has not explained whether the spouse and children can apply without the eligible employee, including if the eligible employee dies.
If you are eligible, your employer can refer you, your spouse, and your children to the program even if you are in Afghanistan. However, processing and interviews will not start until you are able to leave Afghanistan. The U.S. government has not announced where it will do interviews for resettlement for this program.
Referral to the program
Applicants who are eligible cannot apply directly. Their employer must submit a referral. IRAP’s guide on contacting your employer is here.
After your referral
After your employer submits your information to the U.S. government, the State Department stated that it will email you. This email from the State Department will explain how you can inform the State Department that you are in a location where processing is possible. The State Department has not explained other information about processing, including where processing will occur.
Refugee resettlement processing includes two interviews, security checks, and a medical check. The U.S. government estimates that the process could take more than one year. It could take much longer. IRAP’s guide about the refugee resettlement process is here.
Can I apply for P-2 and other immigration programs at the same time?