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Urgent: Support Afghan Refugees

Our hearts go out to the people starting anew after leaving Afghanistan, and to those who are still seeking safety. We will continue to share information, resources, and opportunities on this page as we receive them.

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December 21: The Institute has welcomed 129 Afghan parolees since October 1. 136 more individuals are expected to arrive in the coming weeks. Family sizes range from 10, to single individuals. Our youngest arrival was ten days old and born on a military base in the United States.

November 15: The time is now! 325 additional Afghan evacuees will be arriving soon in Minnesota. At the Institute, our resettlement program is growing rapidly to help as many families as we can. Because families are arriving so quickly, financial donations are the best way to help.

September 23: Read our blog post with the latest news and frequently asked questions.


Resources for U.S. Citizens in Afghanistan and Afghan people seeking safety:

·        U.S. citizens, their spouses, and minor children of U.S. citizens should complete a Repatriation Assistance Request through the U.S. Embassy in Kabul online.

·        This is a developing situation. U.S. Congressional offices are offering assistance to Minnesotans seeking help for their family members. If you are a family member of someone seeking safety, please contact your U.S. Representative. Locate your Representative by ZIP Code at the top of this webpage: www.house.gov.

·        The Institute’s Immigration Services staff are answering calls from families in Minnesota seeking additional resources. Please call 651-377-8639 if you are seeking support for your family members.

·        For more information, please visit USCRI’s website: “Resources for Afghan Allies.”


Resources for Community Supporters and Allies:

This week, the International Institute of Minnesota resettled two families from Afghanistan. We are fully committed to assisting others when they arrive and we wait for the opportunity to welcome them to Minnesota. As of 8/17/21, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), our national office, has assured resettlement for 508 people nationwide, some of whom will arrive in Minnesota. This number is changing regularly.

Ways you can help:

1)    A financial donation to the Institute’s Afghan Refugee Family Fund is the most meaningful way to support the International Institute of Minnesota’s resettlement efforts. Your contribution will support the costs of resettling families of Afghan evacuees. 50% of your gift will be used to cover the direct costs of resettlement (rent payments, deposit, and other needed supplies) and 50% of your donation will be used to provide services (immigration legal support, finding housing, registering for school, securing health insurance, employment help, and other resources for newly arrived families).


2)     We are not accepting donated goods. The Institute has very limited resources to accept donated items, such as clothing, furniture, diapers, or toiletries. Sorting, storing, and transporting donated goods and clothing takes time and resources. Please make a financial donation to the Afghan Refugee Family Fund instead. We are accepting limited offers by groups interested in organizing and delivering donations on an as-needed basis. If you would like to organize a donation drive to collect furniture, housing supplies, toiletries, and other items needed by families when they arrive, and are willing to store and transport your donations when needed, please visit the “Donate Goods” page of our website to view the checklist and learn more.


3) If you are a rental property owner, we need your support in identifying affordable long-term housing opportunities for refugees and parolees. The need is especially great for three- and four-bedroom apartments. Please share your rental opportunities with our Refugee Services team using the form at the bottom of our Housing Services page.


For more information on ways to help, please visit our blog post featuring frequently asked questions.


Resources for Journalists:

·        Media Inquiries for the International Institute of Minnesota can be directed here

·        Steps Afghan Refugees Must Take to Secure a Special Immigrant Visa

·        Minnesota Refugee Arrivals by Nationality (includes Afghanistan)

·        Minnesota Refugee Arrival Map

·        Overview of Minnesota’s Refugee Resettlement Providers

·        This additional information was provided by USCRI, the International Institute of Minnesota’s national office, as of 8/17/21:

    • While about 1,200 American-affiliated Afghans have been evacuated to the United States, around 80,000 more are eligible for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) or P-2 Visa and remain in Afghanistan, stuck in the visa processing pipeline, or unable to procure the adequate documentation to apply.
    • USCRI has assured 508 individuals that have arrived or are scheduled to arrive to USCRI offices and their affiliates.  We do not know how many more will come.
    • SIV recipients get the same benefits as refugees. SIV recipients have Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status upon admission into the United States. Once they are admitted to the United States, they are mailed their Permanent Resident Card (also known as Green Card). They are also normally eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship after residing for five (5) years in the United States. For more information, see naturalization information on the USCIS website.

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