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Green Card Process for Certain Afghan nationals who have helped the U.S. Government

By February 10, 2023Immigration
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The Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009, Section 602(b) (AAPA), is a special immigrant program which authorizes the issuance of Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) to eligible Afghans who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) or a successor mission in Afghanistan between Oct. 7, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2023, for a minimum of 1 year and have:

  • Provided faithful and valuable service to the U.S. government, ISAF or successor mission as documented in a positive letter of recommendation; and
  • Experienced or are experiencing an ongoing serious threat as a consequence of employment.

Application Process

New Applicants:

Afghan nationals who start the SIV application process on or after July 20, 2022, will first need to seek classification as a special immigrant with the Department of State by filing Form DS-157 with the application for Chief of Mission (“COM”) approval.

Pending Applicants as of July 20, 2022:

Afghan nationals who have a pending SIV application and received COM approval as of July 20, 2022, must also file a Form I-360 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, (“USCIS”) unless the approval letter states that the signed form DS-157 submitted with the application for COM approval is approved as a petition and the applicant is classified as a special immigrant.

If the special immigrant designation is noted in the approval, then the applicant can proceed to file for the consular processing or adjustment of status process to complete application for the green card. Otherwise, the Form I-360 must also be filed.

Applicant who lives outside the United States:

After the Form I-360 is approved, USCIS we will forward the approved petition to the DOS for consular processing of the SIV. We have discussed the consular processing option of obtaining a green card here.

Applicant who lives inside the United States:

After the Form I-360 is approved or DOS approves your DS-157, you must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to obtain a Green Card through adjustment of status. We have discussed the adjustment of status option of obtaining a green card here.

Bars to Adjustment

In most cases where a noncitizen is applying for a green card through the adjustment of status process within the United States, the noncitizen must take care to avoid committing certain acts in violation of immigration law that will potentially disqualify them from the adjustment of status process. We discuss these bars to adjustment of status here. Fortunately, the bars to adjustment of status based on working without authorization or maintain lawful status in the United States will not apply to an applicant under this humanitarian process. Keep in mind that all other bars to adjustment of status will still apply.


Most grounds of inadmissibility will apply which could potentially disqualify an applicant from the receiving the green card. We discussed the grounds of inadmissibility here. The ground of inadmissibility that will not apply include the ground related to the noncitizen becoming a public charge to the United States.

Family Members

Spouses or unmarried children under 21 years of age of the principal applicant may also apply for a green card as a derivative applicant.

It should be noted that no more than 34,500 applications are to be approved through this program, so it is important to start the application process as soon as possible. It is also advisable to seek the help of one of our immigration attorneys to help guide you through the process.

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