WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. State Department offered an update this week on Afghanistan relocation and resettlement.
12/13/2021 10:03 AM EST
Office of the Spokesperson
Since August 31, the State Department has continued its around-the-clock efforts to relocate U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents currently in Afghanistan who want to depart, as well as Afghan allies who worked with us over the course of our 20-year military mission in Afghanistan and their families. As Secretary Blinken has said, there is no deadline for this work, which at the State Department is led by the Coordinator for Afghan Relocation Efforts, Ambassador Beth Jones.
This update provides the latest on the U.S. government’s relocation and resettlement efforts.
Since August 31, the United States has directly assisted 479 American Citizens and 450 lawful permanent residents to depart Afghanistan and relocate to the United States. The State Department is currently in touch with fewer than a dozen U.S. citizens who want to leave Afghanistan, are prepared to depart, and have the necessary travel documents.
Additionally, through Operation Allies Welcome, the State Department continues to relocate our Afghan allies who worked with us and their families. These include more than 2,200 Afghans, many of whom are special immigrant visa holders, as well as SIV applicants who have Chief of Mission (COM) approval, a step required by the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009.
Since taking office, the Biden administration has surged resources and taken significant steps to accelerate processing of Afghans, including SIV applicants. As a result, the State Department has issued more than 8,200 SIVs since January 20, and continues to process SIV applications daily.
With the support of Congress, veterans’ organizations, faith leaders, and countless civic organizations, the American people are upholding our commitment to our Afghan allies who worked with us over the last two decades in Afghanistan. The Administration is providing funding to support resettlement for up to 95,000 individuals relocated from Afghanistan and entering the United States through Operation Allies Welcome through the current fiscal year.
Individuals relocated from Afghanistan undergo a rigorous and multilayered screening and vetting process prior to their arrival in the United States and undergo additional screening at their Port of Entry, led by the Department of Homeland Security. They are required to receive critical vaccinations.
The United States has welcomed more than 74,000 Afghans through Operation Allies Welcome to date, providing them with support and assistance as they begin their new lives in the United States – and we are prepared to welcome additional qualifying Afghans over the coming weeks and months as capacity allows, including the approximately 3,000 individuals who are at overseas transit locations for processing to come to the United States. More than 38,000 Afghans, American citizens, and lawful permanent residents have been relocated from military bases in the United States (“safe havens”) to their new communities across the country.
More than 40 percent of the Afghans who have come to the United States are eligible for SIVs because they worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government in Afghanistan or our coalition partners, at significant risk to themselves, or they are the immediate family member of someone who did. Some are SIV applicants who were already in the SIV pipeline. Others are eligible but had never applied. Many additional Afghans are family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, or they worked as journalists, human rights activists, humanitarian or development workers, or for the former Afghan government.