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Refugee Services

Special Immigrant Visa Holders

Who is a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holder?

Afghan and Iraqi special immigrant visa holders are individuals who were employed by or on behalf of the United States government in either Afghanistan or Iraq and whose lives are in danger as a result. If one family member was employed, his or her spouse and children are also eligible for the same status. In partnership with community partners, LSS/NCA resettles these families in Maryland and Virginia, providing safety and encouraging self-sufficiency in their new community. 

What services are available to SIV holders?

SIV holders are eligible for the same services as refugees. Each family is matched with a Reception and Placement (R&P) case manager who assists them in applying for benefits, including social security numbers, food stamps, Medicaid, and temporary cash assistance. Case managers also ensure that all family members attend their required health screening and that all school-aged children are enrolled in school. Each employable member of a family is then matched with an LSS/NCA job developer who works with them to find a job. LSS/NCA has various state and federally funded employment programs, including Matching Grant, for which SIV holders are eligible. Both the case manager and job developer work to ensure that all clients needing English language assistance are referred and enrolled in classes close to their home.

LSS/NCA also has various supplemental programs for which SIV holders are eligible. These include the Virginia Refugee School Achievement Program (VRSAP), which helps both parents and children acclimate to the US school system; the Refugee Health Education and Outreach (RHEO) program, which helps newly arrived clients to understand the US health system and access the care they need; and the Maryland extended case management programs, which works with clients who need further assistance after other programs have ended.

Common Questions

1. I’m an SIV holder and I didn’t travel through International Organization for Migration (IOM). How can I receive services? 

Visit us at one of our offices Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm. If you live in Virginia, visit our Falls Church office located at 7401 Leesburg Pike. If you live in Maryland, visit our office in Hyattsville at 3799 East West Highway.

You’ll be asked to complete a questionnaire and show your passport and visa. We’ll submit the information to our national affiliate and once we receive approval, you’ll be matched with a case manager and start receiving services.

2. Are there any limitations on the Reception & Placement (R&P) program for SIV holders?

There is currently a Department of State restriction on northern Virginia that only allows resettlement agencies to provide R&P services to SIV holders who already have a close family member (parent, child, spouse, sibling, or the in-law equivalent) living in northern Virginia.

3. What do I do if I’m an SIV holder living in northern Virginia without a close family member?

Please come visit us at our Falls Church office, located at 7401 Leesburg Pike. Although you are not eligible for R&P services, you may still be eligible for other programs such as Matching Grant, VRSAP, or RHEO, and we can provide information on how to apply for other benefits, including social security, food stamps, Medicaid, and cash assistance.

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