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Green Card for an Afghan Who Was Employed by or on Behalf of the U.S. Government

The Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009, Section 602(b), created a new special immigrant category for Afghans who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Afghanistan for a minimum of two years between Oct. 7, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2022. You must also have experienced or be experiencing an ongoing serious threat as a consequence of your employment. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 expanded the program to include certain Afghans who were employed by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

In December 2020 and January 2021, Pub. L. 116-260 (PDF) and Pub. L. 116-283 (PDF) amended the Act to extend the program through Dec. 31, 2022. Pub. L. 116-260 amended the Act to add 4,000 additional visas.

For more information, see the USCIS Policy Manual and the Department of State’s Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans webpage.

Application Process

To obtain a Green Card as an Afghan who was employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government, whether you live inside or outside the United States, you must first file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. For more information, see our Form I-360 page.

If You Live Outside the United States

If we approve your Form I-360, we will forward the approved petition to the Department of State for consular processing of the special immigrant visa. For more information on getting a special immigrant visa overseas, see the Consular Processing page.

If You Live Inside the United States

If we approve your Form I-360 but you did not enter the United States on this special immigrant visa, you must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to obtain a Green Card through adjustment of status.

Adjustment of Status Eligibility

You may be eligible for adjustment of status if:

  • You were inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States;
  • You are physically present in the United States;
  • You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa because you are the beneficiary of an approved Form I-360;
  • An immigrant visa number is immediately available to you at the time you file your application. (This occurs when your priority date for your immigrant category is current. For more information, visit our Visa Availability and Priority Dates page and the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin page.); and
  • You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or are eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief.

If you entered the United States as a refugee, you cannot adjust status as an Afghan who was employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government. You must apply as a refugee. For more information, see our Green Card for a Refugee page.

Bars to Adjustment

Unless exempt, you are ineligible for adjustment of status if any of the bars to adjustment listed in section 245(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) apply to you.

You may be exempt from some of the bars to adjustment and eligible to adjust status even if you:

  • Are now employed or have ever been employed in the United States without authorization;
  • Are not in lawful immigration status on the date you file your application;
  • Failed to continuously maintain your lawful status since entry into the United States; or
  • Have ever violated the terms of a nonimmigrant visa after admission to the United States as a nonimmigrant.

Grounds of Inadmissibility

If you are inadmissible to the United States, you cannot adjust to lawful permanent resident status. You can find the grounds of inadmissibility listed in INA 212(a).

If you apply for lawful permanent resident status as a special immigrant Afghan, these grounds of inadmissibility do not apply to you:

If you are inadmissible based on other grounds listed in INA 212(a), you may be eligible for a waiver or other form of relief. If we grant your waiver application or other form of relief, we may approve your application.

You can learn more about waivers and other forms of relief by reading the instructions for Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, and Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal.

Supporting Evidence for Principal Applicant’s Form I-485

See the Checklist of Required Initial Evidence section of our Form I-485 page to see what evidence you must submit.

Work and Travel Authorization

Generally, when you have a pending Form I-485, it is possible for you to apply for authorization to work in the United States and to seek advance parole (advance permission to travel and be admitted to the United States upon your return). For more information, see the Employment Authorization and Travel Documents pages.

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