WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will exempt filing fees and streamline application processing for Afghan nationals who were paroled into the United States for humanitarian reasons on or after July 30, 2021. These actions will help facilitate their resettlement in the U.S. by streamlining the processing of requests for work authorization, Green Cards, and associated services. DHS is the lead federal agency coordinating Operation Allies Welcome, the ongoing all-of-government effort to resettle vulnerable Afghans, including those who worked on behalf of the United States.
“By providing these evacuees with access to streamlined processing and fee exemptions, we will open doors of opportunity for our Afghan allies and help them begin to rebuild their lives in communities across our country more quickly,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “These actions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to Afghan nationals who provided valuable assistance to the United States over the past two decades as well as other Afghans at risk.”
Approximately 70,000 Afghans have arrived in the United States as part of Operation Allies Welcome. Following the biggest airlift in U.S. history, DHS exercised its discretion to parole many Afghan nationals, on a case-by-case basis, into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons. Parolees may apply for work authorization using Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, on the basis of their parole. Afghan nationals will also have the opportunity to apply for immigration benefits such as Afghan special immigrant status, lawful permanent residence, and asylum.
Additional information for Afghans can be found on USCIS’s website.
Afghan nationals who were paroled into the United States on or after July 30, 2021 are eligible for the following fee exemptions and streamlined processing:
- An initialForm I-765, Application for Employment Authorization;
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (if filing Form I-485 as an Afghan special immigrant) or an associated Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility;
- Associated biometric services.
- An initial Form I-765 for those applying for work authorization on the basis of parole (eligibility category (c)(11));
- Form I-485, for applicants seeking to adjust status as an Afghan special immigrant, and any associated Form I-601; or
- Form I-589, filed by certain Afghan parolees as described in Section 2502(a) of the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act.