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DHS streamlining process for Afghan evacuees resettling in US
The Biden administration is waiving some fees for Afghan evacuees as they seek work permits and otherwise try to gain residency in the U.S. after a rushed evacuation from Afghanistan.
The government will waive fees for both applications as well as the biometric testing required to proceed.
The move comes as some 70,000 Afghans have arrived in the U.S., many "paroled" into the country through a temporary waiving of immigration laws that allows those who would not otherwise qualify to enter the U.S. to formalize their status later.
Evacuees will also be able to apply for expedited processing to get their work permits or adjust their immigration status.
Both are designed to ease the transition for a group that left in chaos that ensued during the U.S.'s exit from the country, with many who left unable to fully secure Special Immigrant Visas for those who assisted the U.S. military due to yearslong backlogs.
The U.S. also rushed out a tiered priority program to address other vulnerable Afghans who otherwise may not be able to leave the country, but it was only created shortly before the evacuation was underway.
"By providing these evacuees with access to streamlined processing and fee exemptions, we will open doors of opportunity for our Afghan allies and help them begin to rebuild their lives in communities across our country more quickly," Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
"These actions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to Afghan nationals who provided valuable assistance to the United States over the past two decades as well as other Afghans at risk."