A Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holder is an Iraqi or Afghan national who has been employed by the U.S. Armed Forces as a translator or interpreter, or has been employed by a contractor of the United States government overseas. SIVs are eligible for the same resettlement benefits as refugees for up to eight months after arrival in the U.S.(1) They arrive with Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status and can apply for U.S. citizenship after five years in the U.S.(2)

Quick Facts:

  • In FY 2019, 97.7% percent of SIV recipients were from Afghanistan.(3)
  • 7,774 Iraqi and Afghan SIVs resettled in the United States in FY 2019 – only two-thirds of the average number for the five years prior.(4)

(1) Office of Refugee Resettlement – SIV Holders from Iraq and Afghanistan
(2) U.S. Department of State – SIVs for Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters, Iraqis Employed by/on Behalf of the U.S. Government, Afghans Employed by/on Behalf of the U.S. Government
(3, 4) RPC Arrival Archives 

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