New Arrivals - Refugees & SIVs
This page will be continually updated with more information.
Please note that we are currently receiving a lot of inquiries at this time, it may take a little longer for us to respond. We appreciate your help and ask that you understand if there is a delay in our response.
- USAHello is proud to announce the launch of the Afghan Resource Center, a comprehensive online hub professionally translated in Dari and Pashto to help Afghans start their lives here in the USA. The resource center features content on visa options and benefits available for Afghan newcomers. Additionally, practical information is provided on U.S. laws, finding a job, family reunification and immigration, understanding American culture, setting up finances, healthcare, education, and more. Visitors to the site can access the free FindHello app to connect to 4000+ local resources and service providers across the country.
- Resources for Afghan Allies – US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
- Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans – Who Were Employed by/on Behalf of the US Government – US Department of State
- SIV/Iraqi & Syrian P-2/Afghan Referrals – Refugee Processing Center (operated by the U.S Department of State (DOS) Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM))
- Leaving the Safe Haven on Your Own – USCRI
IISTL Weekly Update
Beginning Sept. 22, the International Institute’s leadership team has begun meeting with their partners to give an update on the current situation. The information provided was current at the time of the presentation. The situation is continually changing with updates happening daily or sometimes even hourly.
Wednesday, January 12, 2022 Press Conference
Press Conference with Arch Grants Founder Jerry Schlichter, Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski, IISTL President & CEO Arrey Obenson, Chairman & CEO of Schnuck Markets, Inc Todd Schnuck, and Afghan community member Modja Sidiqi. Announcement of St. Louis’ initiatives to support Afghan immigrants.
What is the difference between SIVs, refugees, and parolees
Arriving Afghans generally fall in one of the following groups:
- Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients. These visa holders worked for the U.S. government or government contractors in Afghanistan for at least a year; the visas also cover their immediate families.
- Refugees. They include those who worked for the U.S. government or government contractors for less than a year in Afghanistan, who worked for U.S.-funded programs or projects, or were employed by a U.S.-based media organization or NGO. Spouses and children also are covered.
- SQ/SI parolees. These are individuals with pending applications for SIV status.
- Humanitarian parolees. This final category is for Afghans who do not have SQ/SI status, and who will likely be seeking asylum in the United States.
Different Statuses, Different Benefits: Determining Federal Assistance for Afghan Evacuees (Migration Policy Institute, September 2021)
How you can help
- International Institute of St. Louis - serving populations from all around the world in the St. Louis area since 1919. As the only refugee resettlement agency in the St. Louis region, IISTL on average serves 7,500 individuals on an annual basis. With deep cuts to the refugee resettlement program over the past several years, IISTL is working on building capacity in order to serve those who come to St. Louis and are in the most need. You can help by sharing current job openings. Not able to donate monetarily? Organize a donation drive for some of our most needed items. Or host a fundraising event or donation drive.
- Oasis International Ministries (314-353-3800) & House of Goods Baitulmal (314-833-3300) both serve critical roles in providing goods and services to newly arrived refugees. Along with monetary donations, they both accept and distribute donated furniture and household items to refugees to start their new lives here in St. Louis. IISTL utilizes help from both organizations regularly.
- International Rescue Committee (IRC) - assisting on the ground in refugee camps as well as helping individuals and families resettle in the U.S.
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) - active in refugee resettlement across the U.S. Currently, LIRS is operating their program "Afghan Allies" lending assistance to those currently in Afghanistan.
- United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) - providing on-the-ground support for those displaced and in need in Afghanistan.
- U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants (USCRI) - currently providing resources and information to those in Afghanistan and around the world on SIV applications and beyond.
We're so fortunate to live in such a diverse city where foreign-born community support organizations are plentiful. It's not just about newly arrived refugees. These organizations serve the wider immigrant populations in our region.
We know that we at IISTL are anticipating 1,000 refugee cases this year. We don't know when they will come - sometimes we will receive as little as 24-48 hours' notice of arrival. IISTL, as well as the above-mentioned organizations, will need your help. The best things you can do right now is to prepare - fill out interest forms and applications, stay engaged and informed. We're sure other organizations will form and become more involved. New needs will formulate. Be patient and flexible with the ever-changing landscape that is refugee resettlement.
Pick up the phone. Call your representatives (local, state, federal) and let them know that you want action from them now and on an ongoing basis around the issue of Afghan resettlement. Policy makers as well as shapers of public discourse need to understand that there is broad bipartisan consensus for Afghan resettlement and that - regardless of opinions on the military engagement - the United States should not abandon its allies to be persecuted.