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How to Help Friends and Family who are in Afghanistan

Posted by | Vanessa Briseño, Chief Development & Communications Officer

A widespread humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Afghanistan. Thousands of people who have worked as interpreters, translators, and in other capacities alongside the United States military over the past twenty years, including Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants, find themselves and their families in danger.

If you are looking to help family and friends who are in Afghanistan, or if you wish to support the Afghan refugee crisis, please read on.

Click here for a computer translation in Farsi / Persian.

Here are a few things that can help in different ways:

  1. U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident family members who are in Afghanistan should complete the US embassy in Kabul’s Repatriation Assistance Form (linked below).
  2. If the people in Afghanistan cannot fill out the form, then a family member or friend in the U.S. should do their best to help submit that form online.
  3. Repatriation Assistance Form.

This is how the embassy staff in Kabul is collecting info of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents still in Kabul needing help with evacuation. The embassy staff will contact them directly with instructions. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul is posting frequent updates on their website, so please check that site for the latest information.

 

Do you live in Oregon? Your US Senator’s office is helping to connect people in Afghanistan with the US State Department to try to help them leave. 

  1. Oregonians can call Senator Jeff Merkley’s office for information about the family members or friends in Afghanistan. Their office is sending the details to the State Department task force coordinating the evacuation efforts and asking them for help. This does not replace the embassy’s web form process, but they are trying to use the Senator’s office to get more attention and help more people.
  2. Senator Merkley’s office can help U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent residents. They can try to help people with pending visa cases or people of particular concern such as those eligible for P-1 or P-2 refugee status (such as interpreters and their immediate families, other staff for the US Government, etc.)
  3. Please call Senator Merkley’s office at (503) 326-3386 and have as much of the following information ready to share:
    • Full names of all the people
    • Dates of birth
    • Legal status (if they are a US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident)
    • Passport number and country
    • Local contact for the embassy in Kabul to use (phone and/or email)
    • Back up contact info
    • Are there any pending visa cases or petitions filed on their behalf
    • Other important information, like if they worked for Afghan government, worked for U.S. NGO or military, they are an educated woman, etc.

You are welcome to share this email address with others in the community.

If you don’t live in Oregon but want to get help from your senators or representative:

  1. Find your Senators and/or representative (your Senator is usually a good place to start, but every one is different…)
  2. If you find their phone number, call them. Be ready to leave a message with your name, phone number, and the situation you need help with.
    • Example: “I’m calling because I have family in Afghanistan and they need to leave because they are not safe. I need to talk with someone in your office who can help me. My name is _______, my phone number is ______, and my family worked as translators.
      The senator or representative may have help on their website. Look for “Services” or “Contact”

Your senator may have a link that says “Help with a federal agency.” Sometimes they may have an online form. You can give them your contact information and explain the situation.

If you don’t know anyone in Afghanistan, you can still help:

  1. Make sure that your friends, coworkers, neighbors, or community members from Afghanistan know about these resources.
  2. Give $$$ to organizations that can help with refugee resettlement — Catholic Charities of Oregon is one of those agencies.
  3. Reach out to Catholic Charities and other organizations about volunteering in the near future.
  4. Write to your Senators and Representative to urge them to do everything they can to help people in Afghanistan who need to leave.

Learn more about our
Refugee Services

Catholic Charities provides refugee resettlement and case management services to individuals and families who seek to make Oregon their new home.
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