Full response from the U.S. Department of State

Uncategorized

FILE – In this Sept. 11, 2011 file photo, a U.S. Army soldier walks past an American Flag hanging in preparation for a ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, at Forward Operating Base Bostick in Kunar province, Afghanistan. The final phase of ending America’s “forever war” in Afghanistan after 20 years formally began Saturday, May 1, 2021, with the withdrawal of the last U.S. and NATO troops by the end of summer. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

“We are working to facilitate the departure of Afghans to whom we hold special commitments because of their affiliation with the U.S. government, specifically our locally engaged staff and holders of passports with physical SIVs.  As we’ve said before, we will be relentless in this effort as we stand by our Afghan allies.

“We continue our diplomatic efforts to ensure safe passage for U.S. citizens and for any Afghan partners or other foreign nationals who still want to leave Afghanistan. While we are currently unable to provide consular services for immigrant visa applicants, including Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), in Afghanistan, we will continue to process SIV applications at every stage of the SIV process, including by transferring cases to other U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world where applicants are able to appear. We recognize that it is currently extremely difficult for Afghans to obtain a visa to a third country or find a way to enter a third country. We are developing processing alternatives so that we can continue to deliver these important consular services for the people of Afghanistan. Developing such processing alternatives will take time and will depend on cooperation from third countries, as well as the Taliban. 
Following the suspension of operations at Embassy Kabul, we do not have a consular presence in Afghanistan so we are unable to carry out the statutorily mandated steps and security procedures in the visa application process that require the in-person presence of an applicant before a consular officer inside Afghanistan.  

“However, we continue, as much as possible, to expedite processing of SIV applications at all other stages of the process that can be performed remotely, such as assessing applicants for COM approval and DHS’s adjudication of the petition for special immigrant status.  In addition, Afghan SIV applicants who are able to travel outside of Afghanistan and have reached the visa interview stage can transfer their SIV applications to other immigrant visa processing posts outside Afghanistan.
We are committed to working with Congress and our interagency partners on ways to further streamline the SIV program beyond that which we have achieved over the last nine months.
This effort is of utmost importance to the U.S. government.

“The State Department has established a team to coordinate across government agencies and with advocacy groups, nonprofits, and others. The team is working closely with DoD, DHS, and other partners to facilitate the departure of those who wish to leave Afghanistan, including U.S. citizens, LPRs, and Afghans to whom we have a special commitment because of their employment with the U.S. government.

“Earlier this month, Ambassador Elizabeth Jones was named Coordinator for Afghan Relocation Efforts, assuming oversight of the entire Afghanistan relocation effort, from our ongoing efforts to facilitate the departure of individuals from Afghanistan to their onward relocation and resettlement in the United States.  Ambassador Jones and Department staff are focused on the very complex issues related to our efforts to facilitate the relocation and resettlement in the United States of Afghan individuals to whom we have a commitment.”  

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local Stories

More Local