US grants two-year residency extension and work permits for Afghan nationals

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has introduced a new process enabling eligible Afghan refugees to extend their permits to reside and work in the United States.

In a statement on Thursday, the department outlined the simple and cost-free nature of the new process, allowing qualifying individuals to renew their two-year residence permits.

“Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new process that will enable Afghan nationals to renew their parole and continue to live and work in the United States. The new process is streamlined and will be at no cost, and will provide for a two-year renewal of parole for qualifying individuals.” Part of the statement reads.

“This action is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing commitment to the safety, security, and well-being of the thousands of Afghan nationals who arrived in the United States through Operation Allies Welcome and Enduring Welcome.” The department added.

The DHS statement emphasizes that the extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons and for a significant public benefit.

Afghan citizens who lack permanent status were initially granted “parole,” a particular immigration classification that allows foreign citizens to enter the U.S. without a visa and to stay in the country temporarily on humanitarian or public interest grounds.

The department has encouraged Afghan nationals to pursue a permanent status in the United States for which they may be eligible, including through the Special Immigrant and asylum processes.

Earlier in February, CBS News reported that Tens of thousands of Afghan refugees who were evacuated to the US after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021 are at risk of losing their work permits and deportation protections this summer.

However, earlier this month, the Associated Press, citing two people familiar with the plan, announced that the Biden administration would continue to allow Afghan refugees who fled the Taliban to stay and work in the United States.

Following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, the US, and its allies conducted large-scale evacuations, with approximately 77,000 individuals being relocated to the United States. The US Congress has scrutinized the withdrawal from Afghanistan, referring to it as a “chaotic withdrawal,” prompting an investigation by the US House Foreign Affairs Committee.