Special Immigrant Visas for Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters

Frequently Asked Questions for Iraqi and Afghan Translator/Interpreter Special Immigrant Visa Applicants

Important Notice: Anyone who, on or after October 1, 2008, files a Form I-360 petition for special immigrant status with block “k” checked in Part 2, claiming status as “Special Immigrant Afghanistan or Iraq National who worked with the U.S. Armed Forces as a translator” will be subject to the FY 2009 annual fiscal year limitation of 50 special immigrant visas. Please note that demand for visas in this category exceeds annual limits and you may wish to consider one of the following categories For information on these other programs see Learn More.

A provision in Public Law 110-242, applicable only to cases in which petitions for such status were filed before October 1, 2008, authorized the continued processing and adjudication of applications for special immigrant visas for eligible nationals of Iraq and Afghanistan who have worked directly with United States Armed Forces or under Chief of Mission authority as a translator or interpreter for at least twelve months, even though the annual limit of 500 visas had already been reached. That legislative change allows us to continue the processing and scheduling of those SIV cases for Iraqi and Afghan translators and interpreters with petitions that were filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services before October 1, 2008 that are currently at the National Visa Center. Afghan and Iraqi translators and interpreters do not need to provide any additional documents or meet any other eligibility requirements as long as they meet the requirements under the Section 1059 translator and interpreter program.

Applicants will be notified as soon as the National Visa Center is ready to schedule their case. For inquiries related to cases currently at the National Visa Center, please email NVCSIV@state.gov.

Please note that Section 1244 of Public Law 110-181 established a completely distinct SIV program authorizing 5,000 numbers per fiscal year for certain nationals of Iraq who have been employed by, or on behalf of the United States Government. Section 602(b) of Public Law 111-8 established another SIV program authorizing 1,500 numbers per fiscal year for certain nationals of Afghanistan who have been employed by, or on behalf of the United States Government. For information on these programs see Learn More. Any Iraqi national claiming status under Section 1244 law should check block “l,” “Special Immigrant Iraq National who was employed by or on behalf of the United States Government,” on Form I-360. Any Afghan national claiming status under section 602(b) should check Form I-360’s block “m,” “Other, explain” and write “Afghan Worker” in the space provided.

  • The applicant should NOT make any travel arrangements, sell property, or give up employment until the US Embassy or Consulate General has issued a visa.
  • Resettlement Benefits - Iraqis and Afghans applying for Special Immigrant Visas are eligible for resettlement benefits. To learn more please review the important resettlement benefits information, in the 'Arrival in the U.S.' section below.

Overview - What is this program?
What is meant by fiscal year?
STEP 1 - File an Application with USCIS
STEP 2 - Petition approved by USCIS - Sent to NVC
Option for resettlement benefits now available
STEP 3 - The Visa Interview
STEP 4 - Arrival in the U.S.

What is this program?

Under section 1059 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, Public Law 109-163, up to 50 Iraqi and Afghan translators working for the U.S. military have been eligible for special immigrant visas (SIVs) each fiscal year (FY). Public Law 110-36, which President Bush signed into law on June 15, 2007, amended section 1059 by expanding the total number of beneficiaries to 500 a year for FY 2007 and FY 2008 only. In FY 2009, the number of visas available for this category reverted to 50 annually. In addition to these Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants, also see the USCIS Fact Sheet on Afghan and Iraqi Translators.

As amended, section 1059 provides for SIV status for eligible Iraqi and Afghan translators and interpreters who have worked directly with United States Armed Forces or under Chief of Mission (COM) authority.

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