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 US(2).

Quick Facts:

  • Since the first Special Immigrant Visa was awarded in 2007, 56,891 Iraqi and Afghan nationals and their families have arrived in the US(4).
  • In FFY 2016 83 percent of SIV recipients were from Afghanistan (3)
  • In FFY 2014, 10,857 Iraqi and Afghan SIVs resettled in the United States – over 3.5 times the average number for the five years prior(4).

(1) Office of Refugee Resettlement – SIV Holders from Iraq and Afghanistan
(2) US Department of State – SIVs for Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters, Iraqis Employed by/on Behalf of the US Government, Afghans Employed by/on Behalf of the US Government
(3) RPC Arrival Archives – See SIV 2016 Arrivals
(4) RPC Arrival Archives 

Please visit the Info and Resources section for more information.