Refugee Programs Bureau (RPB)

Welcome Message

The State of California welcomes Afghan newcomers as they resettle and integrate into Californian communities. These resources are intended to help Afghan families build bridges to their new homes and communities across the state.

What Federal Benefits and Services are Available to Afghan Parolees?

Afghan Related Information

Let's Welcome our New Neighbors

Join the national effort to welcome and support Afghan families as they build new lives in communities across America.

Different Statuses, Different Benefits: Determining Federal Assistance for Afghan Evacuees

Please note this commentary generally addresses public benefits and services as it applies across all states’ programs.  For more information regarding California’s specific benefits for Afghan arrivals, please refer to the September 3rd All County Welfare Director Letter and the September 17th Errata.

Afghans in Need of Assistance

If seeking assistance to help a family member or friend of someone trying to flee Afghanistan, please see this list of resources to determine the most appropriate contact for the case or situation. These resources are also translated in Pashto - پښتو and Farsi/Dari - دری.

Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Holders and Special Immigrant SQ/SI Parolees from Iraq and Afghanistan

Certain Afghans and Iraqis are granted SIV or Special Immigrant SQ/SI Parolee status by the United States Department of State. An SIV or Special Immigrant SQ/SI Parolee is eligible for the same Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) benefits and services and for the same time period as a refugee, from the first day the individual arrives in the United States. For more information offered, visit the Office of Refugee Resettlement webpage.

ORR Fact Sheets:

To apply for ORR benefits, visit your local County Welfare Department. The CDSS All County Welfare Directors Letter provides details regarding eligibility.

Policy guidance regarding the eligibility of humanitarian parolees from Afghanistan letter and September 17th Errata.

Impacted counties have a designated County Refugee Coordinator who oversees the delivery of public benefits and social services for refugees in the county.

For more information on how to access benefits and services from Resettlement Agencies (RA), please review this RA listing.

Support Arrivals from Afghanistan

We stand with newcomers from Afghanistan. Here is a list of opportunities to support organizations providing aid for Afghan families throughout California.

Afghans arriving as humanitarian parolees may need additional legal assistance in achieving asylum. Here is a list of Californian non-profit agencies that provide free immigration legal services.

Afghan newcomers who require assistance with re-licensure and/or re-credentialing applications should visit the expedited licensure process for more details.

The following information is from the Switchboard Blog. The refugee resettlement network is working to support Afghan evacuees by providing available benefits and services, including those funded by ORR. This blog post lists resources that may be helpful in serving Afghan newcomers, including resources in Dari and Pashto.

Logo: Switchboard - Connecting Resettlement Experts

A one-stop resource hub for refugee service providers in the United States.


Cultural Orientation

Subscribe to Cultural Orientation Resource Exchange (CORE)’s newsletter to learn of forthcoming resources pertaining to Afghan clients.

  • CORE, SIV Stories: Starting Anew in the United States – This video series, available in English, Arabic, and Dari, is meant for Afghan and Iraqi SIV applicants who do not routinely have access to Cultural Orientation overseas.
    • Working with Your Resettlement Agency – Resettlement Manager Razan Osman explains resettlement agency services and how long support will last. She also advises on how to work with resettlement agency staff in order to start one’s new life in the U.S.
    • Ahmad and Friends – Ahmad arrived in Charlotte, NC without any existing ties in the U.S. He now works two jobs to provide for his family and played a key role in creating a supportive community of Afghan immigrants in the area.
    • Jalal and Family – Jalal had worked as a translator, instructor, and deputy project manager in Afghanistan. But he knew that he would have to “start from zero” in the U.S., so he quickly pursued training to work in the insurance industry.
  • CORE Resettlement Navigator (CORENav) – Available in Dari, CORENav includes video, audio, and written resources on topics such as employment, housing, education, resettlement agencies, health, community services, rights and responsibilities, learning English, money management, transportation, and cultural adjustment.
  • CORE Settle In Mobile App, available in Dari, includes interactive learning opportunities across many content areas.

BRYCS What's New Update for November 2021