Afghan Arrival Response - RPB

Refugee Programs Bureau (RPB)

Introduction   |   Afghan Newcomers   |   Services Providers   |   Resettlement Organizations   |  CORE   |   Public Charge   |   Additional Information


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.

Note:  If you are seeking assistance to help someone 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 پښتو  (Pashto) and دری (Farsi/Dari).

Resources for Afghan Newcomers

For more information about services and resources available to Afghan newcomers:

  • Address Change? Afghan nationals paroled into the United States must notify USCIS of an address change within 10 days of moving within the United States or its territories. They must give notice each time they move, even if they are moving to a temporary location. They can change their address online and update their address on any pending applications and petitions at the same time using the USCIS Online Change of Address system. OWA flyers available in English, دری  (Farsi/Dari) and پښتو (Pashto).
  • Cultural Orientation. USAHello, available in فارسی)/دری (Farsi/Dari) and پښتو (Pashto), offers practical information and resources for new Afghan arrivals, including information on services and benefits, immigration, jobs, daily life, American culture, U.S. laws, money, health, and education. USAHello also offers a FindHello app to connect to local services in cities across the country, an Online Information Hub, and an Online Classroom.
  • Legal Assistance. For legal assistance, refer to the following lists:
  • Licenses and Credentials. Afghan newcomers who require assistance with re-licensure and/or re-credentialing applications should visit the expedited licensure process for more details.
  • Resettlement Agency Contacts. For more information on how to access benefits and services from Resettlement Agencies (RA), please review the list of Resettlement Agencies in California.
  • Children and Youth. Refer to Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS) "What's New Update" for resources and webinars on children and youth issues.
  • Federal ORR Benefits. To apply for Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) benefits, visit your local County Welfare Department. The CDSS All County Welfare Directors Letter provides details regarding eligibility.

Resources for Social Services Providers

For more information about California’s specific benefits for Afghan arrivals, please see the resources below:

  • All County Welfare Director Letter (December 2, 2021) informs County Welfare Departments (CWDs) of updated federal benefit eligibility information for Humanitarian Parolees from Afghanistan (HPAs) and Afghans who have been granted Special Immigrant (SI) Conditional Permanent Resident (CPR) status.

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

Note:  An SIV or Special Immigrant SQ/SI Parolee is eligible for the same 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 ORR website on SIV Holders or Special Immigrant SQ/SI Parolees from Afghanistan and Iraq and Benefits for Afghan and Iraqi SIV Holders.

Resources for Resettlement Organizations

ORR’s technical assistance provider, Switchboard has compiled additional resources for resettlement organizations’ use below:

  • Who are the Afghan Newcomers? This webinar provided an overview of events leading to the displacement of Afghan newcomers to the U.S. It also covered the social and cultural aspects that distinguish this population from other refugee groups in the United States
  • Toolkit: Supporting Afghan Students in Schools & Youth Programs in the U.S. While many schools and communities have a long history of welcoming refugee and immigrant students; given the large number of arriving Afghan students and recent traumatic events, educators and school districts may want to do additional preparation. This toolkit is designed to help educators support Afghan students as they enter the education system in their new communities.

Cultural Orientation Resource Exchange

Included below are resources compiled by the Cultural Orientation Resource Exchange (CORE) to support cultural orientation of Afghan newcomers. Subscribe to CORE's newsletter for additional information.

  • 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.
  • Afghan Backgrounder – This backgrounder contains historical, political, and cultural information intended to cultivate a general understanding of Afghans who are arriving to the U.S.
  • U.S. Laws Video (also available in Dari and Pashto) – This short video covers basic foundational knowledge about U.S. laws that can be used as a primer to share more in-depth details about other specific U.S. laws. Cultural Orientation providers can share the video with Afghan arrivals and use it with other U.S. law activities.
  • CORE Settle In Mobile App – This mobile app, available in Dari, includes interactive learning opportunities across many content areas.
  • 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.

Public Charge

Most immigrants are not subject to public charge; however, Afghan Humanitarian Parolees, Afghan SI/SQ Parolees, and Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees are not currently explicitly exempted. The new rule details change in how DHS will interpret public charge, clarifies DHS policy regarding those to whom the public charge rule applies, and explicitly exempts those granted refugee benefits by Congress.

Additional Information

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