Here are just some of the forms relevant to evacuation of Afghan refugees which we have used, and our approach to assembling a submission package. This does not encompass application for either SIV or Refugee status. Our goal has been immediate protection and evacuation, and we have pursued the very status that DoS gave to most of those evacuated through August 31 – that of Humanitarian Parole.
Rationale: Humanitarian Parole status may improve an individual’s triaging in future evacuation efforts as these individuals have some preliminary work already complete (compare to the undocumented who just jumped on planes at HKIA). In addition, should an opportunity for self-evacuation be presented, Humanitarian Parole status would help facilitate transit through third countries which might otherwise impede entry due to concern regarding rising numbers of refugees. Note the purpose for this process as stated by DoS: Advance Parole Documents may be issued to an otherwise inadmissible alien to seek parole into the U.S. due to urgent humanitarian reasons. Keep that rationale in mind. The statement you write, the documentation of threat to the individual and family, and presentation of exhibits supporting the application are critical.
The instructions and tips given here should not be relied on as comprehensive, but are derived from careful review of documents and instructions. If you can afford an immigration attorney, and can wait for their completion of work, all the better. Advice here is just that, not legal counsel.
Keep in mind you want the application TIGHT. While one can reapply if rejected and circumstances change, Humanitarian Parole decisions cannot be appealed.
- First, start the I-134 process. Line up sponsors. Establishing those and getting the I-134s could slow your process if you wait until you have completed other work before adding support. Also, begin your statement at the onset. The quality of that, and the supporting exhibits (such as letters, threat documentation, etc) will benefit from editing and refinement.
- Read the annotated instructions. Especially note that some fields generate bar coding at the bottom of the page, while other typed entries are optically scanned, while other items you must print would be manually entered. Yes, this is a data entry quagmire.
- Use Adobe Reader to complete the I-131 so that you are assured that the barcoding at the bottom of each page updates as designed when you make entries (much of the form input is from that scan).
- For fields which don’t permit typing in, simply print out the form and then add those entries using a black pen.
- Forms can be confusing and daunting to applicants. Part of this relates to various roles regarding forms: Applicant, Requestor, Translator/interpeter, Attorney/Representative. Make sure you understand these.
- You must include explanatory statements for some items. This is done by making a note at the incomplete item, and attaching a separate explanatory sheet. At the top of the sheet you must type your name and any Alien Registration Number. Organize response by Part and Item Number.
- Signatures are a problem. We offer explanations for all missing signatures. We are told that DoS isn’t doing a summary rejection of I-131 applications under the circumstances we are operating under if this is explained.
- Attach a statement for each application. The clear, succinct and compelling drafting of this statement is essential.
- Forms must be submitted with photo ID (passport or national ID with photo, or birth certificate and photo for children under 18).
- The instructions also state that two photos must be submitted for each individual. This is required to generate the document. The should be the standard 2×2 glossy paper passport photo, but ours were taken sans the standard background (the HKIA wall and barbed wire were coincidental…not as message to DoS). However, the quality and sizing proportions of the applicant’s face is important. Print names on back of photos.
- State that the named individual is requesting the Advance Parole Document based upon humanitarian reasons in order to present at a U.S. Port-of-Entry to seek Humanitarian Parole into the United States of one year in duration.
- Give detailed description of the reasons for seeking Humanitarian Parole: that subsequent to the Taliban takeover, the individual faces a clear and imminent danger. This should include citing either a direct threat or the “high risk” status of other members of the family based upon their relationships to the individual, or their own status.
- You must note that the applicant could not obtain a visa in Afghanistan, which lacks U.S. consular services. In addition, note that it is unlikely that passport services will become available to those in Afghanistan, and that if they did, seeking a passport itself could place one at risk, as Taliban leaders will now in control of much of the country have stated resistance to emigration.
- You should reiterate request for fee waiver if that is part of the application.
- You must recapitulate the high threat level and that you are requesting this application is expedited. The I-131 must be annotated at the top right corner of the first page, printing “EXPEDITE” and the requestor’s email.
- I-134 Affidavit of Support (Financial sponsorship)
- I-912 Fee Waiver (if you do not submit payment)