This guide provides information for current or former employers of Afghan nationals who may be eligible for the Afghan P-2 resettlement program.
The Afghan P-2 program allows U.S. government agencies, U.S.-based NGOs, and U.S.-based media organizations to refer certain Afghan nationals and their spouses/children to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). 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.
Who is eligible for the Afghan P-2 Program?
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.
How do I contact my organization’s former employees?
IRAP urges employers and agencies to:
- Reach out to former employees at their most recent contact information to coordinate referrals; and
- Publish information on their websites with information on how former employees can request referrals.
Who can be included in an application?
In addition to the eligible individual, their spouses and children of any age or marital status can be included in the application.
The State Department has not explained whether the spouse and children can apply without the eligible employee, including if the eligible employee dies.
Does the applicant need to be outside Afghanistan for me to submit a referral?
U.S. resettlement processing is not available in Afghanistan. But employers do not need to wait for someone to relocate to submit a referral. A referral can be submitted now, regardless of the applicant’s location. IRAP suggests that employers submit referrals for all eligible employees now, even if those individuals are not able to travel. This will ensure that an applicant be considered for resettlement in the future if they are able to relocate.
After an individual is referred, refugee processing will not start until the applicant is in a location where processing is available. The applicant can contact the State Department when they are in one of those locations. As of this writing, the State Department has not stated where processing is possible. Processing will not be possible in Iran.
I am a U.S. government official, or I represent a U.S.-funded contractor or grantee. How do I refer an eligible Afghan national employee to this program?
The State Department has not published public guidance on how to submit referrals. IRAP strongly urges you to contact your agency and request information on how to refer employees. IRAP also urges employers and agencies to contact former employers and to publish information on how former employees can request referrals.
I represent a US-based NGO or media organization that is/was not funded by the U.S. government. How do I refer an eligible Afghan national employee to this program?
The senior-most U.S. citizen employee of your organization or headquarters in the United States (e.g., CEO, Executive Director, etc.) must submit a referral package for each individual.
This package must include a referral form, a signed Employment Verification form, and scans of available supporting documents. Blank templates and more information can be found here.
Where can I find more information about this program?
Is there a limit on how many eligible employees I should refer to this program?
There are no numerical limits on how many individuals your company or organization can refer to the USRAP through this program.
What happens after I refer an employee?
The State Department stated that it will email an individual who is referred. This email from the State Department will explain how the applicant can inform the State Department that the applicant is in a location where processing is possible. The State Department has not explained other information about processing, including where processing will occur.
Can my employee apply for P-2 and other immigration programs at the same time?
Yes. IRAP has guides on other pathways that may apply to them on our website, iraplegalinfo.org. In particular, IRAP’s website includes extensive guides on SIVs, family reunification, and humanitarian parole.
Does my employee need legal assistance in this process?
The vast majority of people in the U.S. resettlement process apply without legal help. IRAP’s website provides information on the refugee resettlement interviews and appealing a denial from refugee status.
What support does the U.S. government offer to applicants in this process after they leave Afghanistan?
The U.S. government does not offer financial or protection assistance to applicants in the resettlement program. The U.S. government does not help applicants secure legal status in a country of asylum. International law prohibits countries from deporting individuals to a place where they fear harm, but many governments will seek to deport individuals who are within their borders without legal status.
Some applicants may register with UNHCR or governments as asylum-seekers. UNHCR does not operate in every country, is not able to provide financial resources to most asylum-seekers, and also cannot guarantee safety from deportation. Resources for UNHCR offices in some countries are available at help.unhcr.org. Contact information for UNHCR in other countries is available here.