Special Immigrant Visa Program


Many of our new Sacramento neighbors are coming from Afghanistan under the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program. These persons have provided loyal and valuable service to the U.S. Armed Forces, but as a result have experienced serious threat. Although we don't expect volunteers to be experts in Afghan culture, it is helpful to read up on the country they come from and why they are here in Sacramento.

The Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program Fact Sheet

The Cultural Orientation Resource Exchange has several videos specifically about Special Immigrant Visa Holders. 



What language(s) do Special Immigrant Visa Holders from Afghanistan speak? 

  • Most SIVs speak Dari which is most similar to Persian Farsi. Generally Dari speakers can understand Farsi and will need to utilize Farsi resources in Sacramento if unable to understand English. Pashto is the second most common language spoked by SIVs and is not similar to Farsi. Urdu, Nuristani, Hindi, and Arabic are less common languages among SIV holders from Afghanistan. 

What type of jobs did Special Immigrant Visa Holders have in Afghanistan? 

  • By definition, SIVs assisted the U.S. military or government back in their home country. Historically SIVs have been known mainly as translators/interpreters. These professions are common among our newly arrived families but other common jobs are: engineers, security guards, drivers, doctors, teachers. 

Were Special Immigrant Visa Holders in refugee camps or in another country before arriving to Sacramento? 

  • SIV Holders are not in refugee camps or another country before arriving to Sacramento. They apply for their visa in their home country and leave from that location for the US. There are traditional refugees from Afghanistan coming from another location, but these are not Special Immigrant Visa Holders.