If you are applying for a special immigrant visa, you can submit Form DS-234 along with your visa application and Refugee Benefits Election Form to receive resettlement assistance and other benefits. While you should aim to complete these documents before your arrival, you can also submit them after you’ve arrived in the United States.
You should complete a form for each family member traveling with you. You can return these forms to either the National Visa Center (NCVSIV@state.gov) or the Refugee Processing Center (SIV@wrapsnet.org).
Special Immigrant Visa, Defined
Special immigrant visa (SIV) programs are programs for obtaining a U.S. visa. These visas are provided to Afghan and Iraqi nationals who worked for or on behalf of the United States government. Translators and interpreters may also be eligible.
As an SIV recipient, you may qualify for resettlement assistance and entitlement programs such as the Department of States Reception & Placement (R&P) Program, which covers the first 30-90 days in the United States. To opt into this assistance, you must complete Form DS-234 and the Refugee Benefits Election Form.
How to Complete Form DS-234
Form DS-234 is a five-page application, broken up into six sections (A – G). It is important to fill out the form accurately and completely to ensure timely processing of your request for assistance. Here’s what you need to include on the form:
A. Case Information
- NVC Case Number
- Assigned Post
- Post POC Information
B. Principal Applicant
- Case size (yourself plus family members)
- Full name (as it appears on passport)
- Passport number
- IV case number
- Marital status
- Date and place of birth
- Religion, if applicable
- Phone number, email
- Education level
- Speaking ability of your native language, other languages, and English
- Pregnancy status and delivery date, if applicable
- Health issues
- Document spouse’s biographical and contact information, if applicable.
- Document children’s biographical and contact information, if applicable, including up to six children. (If you need more space, you can document additional children after Section G.)
E. Cross Reference
- Document the names, relationships, dates of birth, and case numbers of family members who are also being processed on a special immigrant visa.
F. U.S. Ties
- Provide the names, genders, relationships, and contact information of family members that are already residing in the United States.
- If you have any comments or additional information to add to your assistance application, document this information here.
You must submit this form along with the Refugee Benefits Election form no later than 10 business days from the date of your visa issuance. Failure to provide this information within the allotted time will result in a denial of any future applications for benefits.
Refugee Benefits Election Form
You must file the Refugee Benefits Election form in conjunction with Form DS-234. This form requires you to indicate whether you want to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s resettlement program.
You will need to include your case number, printed name (in English), email address, phone number, and date of birth, and then sign and date the form. Together, these forms will complete your request for benefits.
R&P Program for Special Immigrants
Once you have submitted the necessary forms, your application will be assigned to a resettlement agency. The institution responsible for your case will provide you with a form indicating which resettlement agency will provide you with services.
This resettlement agency will be in or near the city that you are settled in and will provide you with basic necessities for the first 30 to 90 days after your arrival. The agency receives $1,875 per person, and $925 must be spent directly on your behalf. You should expect:
- Housing for the first 30 days
- A small daily allowance for basic needs
- Assistance with applying for a social security card
- Access to employment services
- Assistance with enrolling children in school
- Help with learning how to use public transport
- Assistance with getting English classes
- Help with learning about government and community aid
You will also receive assistance with applying for other government-funded assistance programs, including Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) benefits.
Get Help Applying for Resettlement Assistance Today
Form DS-234 must be completed in a timely manner to secure your right to refugee benefits. However, filing the correct forms and getting access to assistance can prove more difficult than it seems. Our lawyers at New Frontier Immigration Law can help simplify things for you by assisting with your visa application.
For more information about Form DS-234 or refugee assistance programs, contact our team today.