Biden administration to waive immigration application fees for thousands of evacuees


The relocation challenge has haunted the administration since the frenzied evacuation of Afghanistan in August: the resettlement of tens of thousands of people – many of whom have worked with or on behalf of the United States – in just a matter of weeks or months.

The administration will now exempt Afghan evacuees – many of whom arrived in the United States with little or nothing – from paying expensive application fees to obtain work permits or apply for lawful permanent residence.

The application fee for work permit applications – which Afghans need to work legally in the United States – is $ 410, and the fee for obtaining legal permanent residence can go up to $ 1,225.

“By providing these evacuees with access to streamlined treatment and fee waivers, we will open doors of opportunity for our Afghan allies and help them begin to rebuild their lives faster in communities across our country,” he said. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. declaration.

“Today’s announcement brings much needed financial assistance to our new Afghan neighbors,” he added. tweeted Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, the President and CEO of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “Most of the families we serve don’t have a nest egg to draw from, and every expense is a source of stress and anxiety.”
Afghans who were paroled in the United States on or after July 30 are eligible for fee waivers, according to DHS.

Last month, a group of Democratic senators urged DHS and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to waive fees for Afghans seeking humanitarian parole to come to the United States, arguing that “the burden of demand weighs heavily on communities here in the US ”.

According to DHS, there are approximately 51,000 people at eight Department of Defense sites in the United States and approximately 2,500 at sites in Europe and the Middle East.

A total of 68,000 Afghans have come to the United States since August 17, shortly before the United States’ military withdrawal from their country at the end of the month. More than 14,000 of them have been resettled in the United States, by DHS.

This story was updated with the reaction on Monday.

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