CSI Repository

CSI Country Catalog

Afghanistan

Flag_of_Afghanistan
Country
Country Name: Afghanistan
Official Country Name: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Country Code 2-Letters: AF
Country Code 3-Letters: AFG
Street: Great Massoud (Airport) Road Kabul, Afghanistan
Fact sheet: https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5380.htm
  • International Travel
  • Child Abductions
  • Intercountry Adoptions
  • Consular Notification
  • U.S. Visas
  • Contact
  • Quick Facts
  • Embassies and Consulates
  • Destination Description
  • Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws & Special Circumstances
  • Health
  • Travel & Transportation
Contact
Embassy Name: U.S. Embassy Kabul
Street Address: Great Massoud (Airport) Road
Kabul, Afghanistan
Phone: +93(0)700-108-001 or +93(0)700-108-002
Emergency Phone: +93(0)700-114-000
Fax: (00 93)(0)700-108-564 or (0)202-300-546
Email: kabulacs@state.gov
Web: https://af.usembassy.gov/

Embassy Messages

Kabul

 


Map

Country Map

Quick Facts
Passport Validity:


Must be valid for six months at time of entry


Blank Passport Pages:


One page required for entry stamp


Tourist Visa Required:


Yes


Vaccinations:


Polio vaccination up to 1 year before travel is recommended. See the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Fact Sheet


Currency Restrictions for Entry:


$20,000


Currency Restrictions for Exit:


$20,000

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Kabul

Great Massoud (Airport) Road
Kabul, Afghanistan
Telephone: +93(0)700-108-001 or +93(0)700-108-002
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +93(0)700-114-000
Fax: (00 93) (0) 700-108-564 or (0)202-300-546

Destination Description

Afghanistan remains an extremely dangerous country. Terrorist organizations, extremist groups and organized criminal syndicates are active throughout Afghanistan, and the security situation remains volatile and unpredictable. All foreigners are potential targets, including non-governmental organization employees, aid workers, clergy, medical workers, journalists, teachers, tourists, and others. Please refer to the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Afghanistan for additional information.

Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements

Passport and Visas: U.S. Citizens must have a valid passport and Afghan visa to enter and exit Afghanistan. Travelers arriving without a valid visa are subjected to deportation or confiscation of their passport and heavy fines. Visit the website of the Embassy of Afghanistan for the most current visa information.

U.S. Government Travelers: All official U.S. government travel requests must be submitted via the country clearance process and are limited to mission critical travel. U.S. government employees wishing to conduct unofficial travel to Afghanistan must also fill out a country clearance request.

Dual Nationals/Afghan Heritage: U.S. citizens born in Afghanistan of Afghan parents are considered to be Afghan nationals and are not required to have an entry visa.  For U.S. citizens of Afghan parentage, but not born in Afghanistan, an entry permit is required. Contact the Embassy of Afghanistan for more information. U.S. lawful permanent residents of Afghan heritage without Afghan passports should also contact the Embassy of Afghanistan to for guidance on the proper entry documents.  

Military: U.S. military ID card holders on official duty in Afghanistan may fly directly into the country on U.S. military air. Such individuals must also depart the country on military air. Persons who enter the country using a U.S. military ID card will not be able to depart the country on a commercial flight without legitimizing their status and obtaining an exit visa from the Ministry of Interior.

Registration: Foreigners arriving in Afghanistan are fingerprinted during the immigration process. Foreign passengers arriving at the Kabul International Airport are expected to register with a representative of the Ministry of Interior’s Foreigners’ Registration Office. If the airport office is closed, registration may take place at the Ministry of Interior’s Kabul Statistics Office located at Kart-e-Parwan Square in front of Nadirya High School. The registration card must be surrendered upon the foreign national’s departure from Afghanistan.

Medical Requirements: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors or foreign residents of Afghanistan.

Please visit the Consular Affairs website for information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations.

Safety and Security

The Afghanistan Travel Advisory warns U.S. citizens to forgo all travel to the country. The security situation is extremely unstable and the threat to U.S. citizens remains critical. No province in Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence, and the potential exists throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against U.S. and other foreign nationals at any time. U.S. citizens who do decide to come to Afghanistan should maintain a low profile and exercise extreme discretion in disclosing their movement plans and personal information. Security alerts for Afghanistan can be found on the U.S. Embassy Kabul’s website.

Terrorist Attacks: Decades of disorder and warfare have made Afghanistan fertile territory for international terrorism. U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals are primary targets of terrorist organizations. Extremist groups across Afghanistan continue to utilize a variety of tactics to expand their territorial influence, disrupt governance, and create a public perception of instability. Such tactics include the use of attackers laden with suicide vests, vehicle-borne explosive devices, magnetic explosive devices, indirect fire (rockets and mortars), and direct fire (shootings and rocket propelled grenades). Military and security personnel, Afghan government buildings, foreign embassies, non-government organization offices, and soft targets, such as hotels, markets, schools, hospitals, and public gatherings, are common attack targets. Kabul has been and remains a high-profile location for large-scale insurgent attacks, as successful operations in the capital tend to generate media coverage. U.S. citizens in Afghanistan should familiarize themselves with their residential compound or hotel’s emergency planning, and rehearse the steps they would take if the venue were to come under attack.

Kidnapping/Hostage Taking: Extremist groups and kidnapping syndicates are actively targeting foreign nationals, specifically U.S. citizens, in Afghanistan, including journalists, aid workers, teachers, medical professionals, and individuals associated with international and non-governmental organizations. Criminal groups in Afghanistan will target any individual perceived to have money for kidnapping and/or extortion. Kidnap-for-ransom syndicates may also sell their captives to terrorist groups, with victims potentially spending years in captivity. 

Demonstrations and Riots: U.S. citizens should avoid all rallies and demonstrations, as even events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence with little warning. Public gatherings and demonstrations have also been the targets of terrorist attacks.

Property/Business Disputes: Afghan-Americans returning to Afghanistan to recover property often become involved in complicated real estate disputes involving threats of retaliatory action, including kidnapping and assassinations. Similarly, U.S. citizens involved in business or commercial disputes have been threatened with detention, arrest, and imprisonment, and had their property seized to use as collateral. U.S. citizens have reported being physically attacked and family members have also been harmed as the result of such disputes. U.S. citizens who find themselves in such situations should not assume that either local law enforcement or the U.S. Embassy will be able to assist them in resolving such disputes. Hiring a private attorney, early on the dispute, especially one who can act on behalf of the U.S. citizen when he/she is outside Afghanistan, is recommended.

Communications: Large parts of Afghanistan are extremely isolated and landline telephone communications remain limited. Cell phone service is unpredictable, and areas outside major urban centers suffer from irregular and weak signals. Insurgents have been known to attack telecommunications infrastructure and coerce operators into turning off cell phone towers. U.S. citizens in Afghanistan should always carry backup communications such as satellite phones or handheld radios, along with a vehicle/personal tracking device.

Crime: Afghanistan is considered a critical threat environment for crime. Criminal organizations, including weapons and narcotics traffickers, undermine peace and stability throughout the country. Common petty or street crime exists, primarily in cities. Transient populations and internally displaced peoples may contribute to crime and lawlessness.

Victims of Crime: The local equivalent to the U.S. “911” emergency line is “119” in Afghanistan. Please note that local operators do not speak English and that emergency services are restricted to the major cities. The emergency line may not be answered and response times are usually longer than in the United States. U.S. citizens who find themselves in a truly exigent emergency in Afghanistan can reach the U.S. Embassy during business hours at +93 (0)700-114-000 or through the Embassy switchboard at +93 (0)700-108-000 after hours. Please note that due to the security environment in Kabul and throughout Afghanistan, the Embassy is limited in the type of support it can provide to U.S. citizens.

Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime committed in Afghanistan, but travelers should not rely on significant assistance from such authorities in resolving legal disputes. This is especially true of U.S.-based companies and their employees seeking local protection from extralegal efforts to resolve contract disputes. Property maybe seized and personnel may be detained as collateral pending the resolution of such disputes.

The U.S. Embassy can help crime victims in Afghanistan:

  • Replace a stolen passport
  • Contact family, friends, or employers
  • Research options for medical care
  • Connect to resources to assist victims of crime
  • Provide a list of local lawyers who speak English
  • Understand the local criminal justice process

See the Department of State’s webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas for additional details.

To stay connected:

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:  U.S. citizens in Afghanistan are subject to Afghan laws. A U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution, and may result in heightened attention by police and prosecutors, some of whom may seek to exploit your status as a U.S. citizen for financial or political gain. Persons violating Afghan laws, even unknowingly, may be fined, arrested, imprisoned, or possibly executed. Penalties in Afghanistan can be more severe than for similar offenses in the United States. Due to security and travel limitations, the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular assistance for U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is limited, particularly for persons outside Kabul.

Photography of military installations, including equipment or troops, may lead to arrest or detention. Possession of alcohol is illegal as is driving under the influence. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs are severe, with offenders often facing long jail sentences and heavy fines. Sexual relations between unmarried couples are generally forbidden in Afghanistan.

U.S. citizens should also note that they are still subject to U.S. federal laws while traveling or living abroad. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. The Department of State’s website has further information on U.S. citizen arrests or detentions. The security environment and Embassy travel restrictions severely limit consular staff’s ability to visit U.S. citizens detained or imprisoned in Afghanistan.

Religion and Islam: Islam provides the foundation for Afghan customs, laws, and practices. Foreign visitors -- men and women -- are expected to remain sensitive to the Islamic culture and not dress in a revealing or provocative manner, including the wearing of sleeveless shirts and blouses, halter-tops, and shorts.

Although the Constitution of Afghanistan allows for the free exercise of religion, proselytizing may be deemed contrary to Islam and harmful to society. Committing a blasphemous act or producing or distributing material deemed critical of Islam is punishable by long-term incarceration or the death sentence. Apostasy may carry a maximum penalty of death for Muslims who denounce Islam or convert to another religion. Allegations of conversion of Afghan citizens are taken particularly seriously. False accusations of blasphemy or insulting Islam have led to deadly mob violence. 

Financial Debts: U.S. citizens in Afghanistan have been detained and arrested in cases involving financial debts and contract disputes, as these disputes are generally considered as criminal matters in Afghanistan. Hiring an attorney in the early stages of such a dispute is recommended. The Embassy maintains a limited list of lawyers in Afghanistan.

Women Travelers: Afghanistan is a traditional country, particularly when it comes to gender roles and behavior. To help maintain a low profile, women should ensure their shirts cover their full arms, collarbone, and waistband, and their pants/skirts cover their ankles, especially when traveling outside Kabul. Almost all women in Afghanistan cover their hair in public; female travelers are advised to carry scarves for this purpose. Women visiting Afghanistan should be alert of the risk of sexual assault and are recommended to review the Department of State’s travel tips for women travelers.

LGBTI Rights: While homosexuality is not explicitly illegal under Afghan law, individuals may be prosecuted under laws forbidding sodomy, and sexual relations between unmarried individuals is generally forbidden. LGBTI individuals face discrimination, violence, and persecution in Afghan society. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our  Human Rights report for further details.

Forced Marriage: The Embassy is aware of cases involving U.S. citizen women of Afghan heritage who have been convinced by their families to travel to Afghanistan, usually under the guise of visiting relatives, only to find themselves forced into marriage. The U.S. government considers forced marriage to be a violation of basic human rights and in the case of minors, a form of child abuse. Forced marriage is defined as one in which one or both parties have not consented to the marriage (or are incapable of providing meaningful consent), and differs from arranged marriage. Often, victims of forced marriage are subjected to non-consensual sex, physical and emotional abuse, and isolation. Individuals who refuse a forced marriage may be threatened with violence or with being disowned by their families, who also often confiscate their belongings (including passports). In such situations, the U.S. Embassy may be able to replace stolen or wrongfully retained passports and identify resources for return travel to the United States.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Afghan law protects the rights of persons with disabilities, but the provisions are not implemented in practice. Persons with disabilities face limited access to transportation, public buildings, hotels, and communication accommodations. There are few sidewalks and no curb-cuts, and most buildings lack elevators.

Banking: Access to banking facilities in Afghanistan is limited and unreliable. The economy generally operates on a cash-only basis, though the use of credit cards is becoming more common in larger cities. ATMs are available in major cities, but U.S. banks often deny transactions from Afghanistan unless a traveler provides advanced notice of the transaction. International wire transfers options are limited.

Customs: Afghan customs authorities generally enforce strict regulations on the import/export of certain goods such as alcoholic beverages, religious materials, antiquities, medication, precious stones and metals, and printed materials. U.S. citizen travelers have faced fines and/or confiscation of items considered antiquities upon exiting Afghanistan. Specific information on customs requirements is available from the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington or the Ministry of Interior Affairs.

Weapons/Firearms: U.S. citizens, including security contractors and military personnel, should carefully review Afghan import/export restrictions on weapons, firearms, and ammunition, including antique or display models. It is also important to review the regulations of any country through which you may transit, as many countries have strict rules prohibiting these items, even in checked luggage. Consult the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for information on traveling with such items into or out of the United States.

Health

Basic medical care is available in major Afghan cities but is limited in rural areas. Facilities vary in quality and range of services, and are generally below U.S. standards. Doctors and hospitals often require cash prepayment for services. Ambulances are few, lack medical equipment, and are not necessarily staffed by medical personnel. Western-style private clinics can be found in Kabul offering a variety of basic emergency and routine preventative-type care, but their hours are limited and such facilities may not be suitable for complex trauma cases or severe medical emergencies. Individuals without licenses or medical degrees operate private clinics, and there is no public agency that monitors their operations. A list of Medical Clinics in Afghanistan is available on the U.S. Embassy’s website.

Travelers are strongly urged to obtain sufficient supplies of prescription and commonly used over-the-counter medications prior to arrival. Many U.S. -brand medications are not available in Afghanistan. Travelers should be alert that many pharmaceuticals found in Afghanistan are counterfeits, and the quality of locally-produced medications is uneven.

Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan will cover you outside of the United States, and specifically covers care when you are in Afghanistan, as many insurance companies consider the country to be an active warzone and specifically exclude coverage for individuals residing or traveling here. Please also note that U.S. Medicare does not pay overseas. U.S. citizens are strongly recommended to obtain supplemental medical evacuation insurance as medical transport out of Afghanistan can be prohibitively expensive. When selecting medical evacuation provider, be sure to confirm that the company offers such services in Afghanistan, and obtain a list of clinics and hospitals that may be used as a medical evacuation point. Please note that the U.S. Embassy cannot pay your medical bills.

Vaccinations: You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions in Afghanistan on the website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

Travel & Transportation

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: Road conditions in Afghanistan are generally poor. Many urban streets in Afghanistan have large potholes and are not well lit, and rural roads are frequently not paved. There have also been reports of cave-ins and erosion on the Ring Road (the Kabul-Kandahar-Herat-Mazar highway). Vehicles are often poorly maintained and overloaded. Traffic laws are often not enforced, and roadside assistance is non-existent. Vehicular traffic is chaotic and drivers must contend with numerous pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals. With congested roads, non-standard traffic patterns, and abundant pedestrian traffic, vehicle accidents are a serious concern and can escalate into violent confrontations when involving foreigners. All drivers are urged to drive defensively, drive only in the daylight, and pay close attention to their surroundings. Owners of vehicles with tinted windows can be arrested. Please see the Department of State’s additional information on Road Safety.

U.S. citizens should also be aware that land mines and large quantities of unexploded ordnance exist throughout the countryside and along roads, posing a danger to travelers. Robberies and kidnappings are also prevalent on the roads outside Kabul.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Afghanistan, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Afghanistan’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization aviation safety standards. Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Afghanistan, the FAA has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information
Use Style in the Text Component to tag city names and to tag phone numbers, fax numbers, and emails with the respective Style icon.

Afghanistan

Washington, DC (202) 298-9125 (202) 298-9127

Los Angeles, CA (310) 288-8334 (310) 288-8355

New York, NY (212) 972-2277 (718) 279-9046

  • General Information
  • Hague Abduction Convention
  • Return
  • Visitation/Access
  • Retaining an Attorney
  • Mediation
Hague Questions | Learn More Links
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention? no
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention? no
Learn why the Hague Abduction Convention Matters: https://travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/law-and-regulations/hague.html

General Information

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Hague Abduction Convention

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Return

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Visitation/Access

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Retaining an Attorney

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Mediation

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  • Hague
  • Hague Convention Information
  • U.S. Immigration Requirements
  • Who Can Adopt
  • Who Can Be Adopted
  • How To Adopt
  • Traveling Abroad
  • After Adoption
  • Contact Information
Hague Questions
Hague Adoption Convention Country? No
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
Hague Convention Information

Afghanistan is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption(Hague Adoption Convention). Intercountry adoptions of children from non-Hague countries are processed in accordance with 8 Code of Federal Regulations, Section  204.3 as it relates to orphans as defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(b)(1)(F).

The Afghan Civil Code governs the rights and interests of minors in Afghanistan. Islamic Shari’a law, upon which Afghanistan family law is largely based, does not allow for adoption of Afghan children in Afghanistan. Therefore, U.S. citizens considering adoption of an Afghan child must obtain guardianship for the purpose of emigration and adoption in the United States from the Afghan Family Court that has jurisdiction over the prospective adoptive child’s place of residence. It is important to note that according to Afghan laws, prospective adoptive parents who are non-Muslim may not be appointed guardians of Muslim children. Strong cultural ties to Afghanistan (dual Afghan-American nationality, for example) may favorably influence the court’s decision, but are not required.

Prospective adoptive parents may apply for a U.S. immigrant visa in cases where the Afghan Family Court grants guardianship of an orphan as defined under U.S. immigration law. The Afghan Family Court must specifically rule that the child is permitted to leave the jurisdiction of Afghanistan for the purpose of being adopted in the United States by the prospective parents. Prospective adoptive parents should refer to our country information sheet on Adoption of Children From Countries in which Islamic Shari'a Law is Observed for more information.

U.S. Immigration Requirements For Intercountry Adoptions

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Afghanistan, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.

Who Can Adopt

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must also meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Afghanistan:

  • Residency:  Afghan law does not clearly state any residency requirements for prospective guardians.
  • Age of Adopting Parents:  Afghan law does not clearly state any age requirements for prospective guardians.
  • Marriage:  Afghan law does not clearly state any marriage requirements for prospective guardians.
  • Income:  Prospective guardians must demonstrate to the Family Court that they have sufficient resources to educate and raise the child.
  • Other:  Per Afghan laws, prospective parents who are non-Muslims may not be appointed as guardians of Muslim children. Prospective parents must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Afghan Family Court judge that they intend to raise the child in accordance with Islamic tradition and norms.

In order to be eligible as a guardian, Afghan Civil Code states that the guardian must be righteous, meet all eligibility requirements, and be able to support the child. A person who has been convicted of crimes against public morality or chastity, has a bad reputation, does not have legitimate income, previously lost guardianship of the child by order of the court, has been denied guardianship in writing by the father or paternal grandfather of the child, or has any judicial dispute with the child’s family, may not be appointed guardian.

Prospective parents must comply with U.S. legal requirements in the I-600 process. U.S. citizens who are interested in adopting an Afghan child are strongly encouraged to contact U.S. Consular officials in Kabul before making any adoption plans to ensure that appropriate procedures are followed which will make it possible for the Embassy to issue a U.S. immigrant visa to the child.

Who Can Be Adopted

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, Afghanistan has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption:

  • Relinquishment:  The child’s biological father, if living, may relinquish the child, or the Afghan Family Court can designate a legal guardian to do so.
  • Abandonment:  As determined by the Afghan Family Court.
  • Age of Adoptive Child:  Guardianship terminates when the child reaches the age of 18.
  • Sibling Adoptions:  None.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions:  None.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care:  None.

Caution:  Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)’s adoption.

In order to adopt a child from Afghanistan, a child must meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law for you to bring him or her back to the United States. Find out more about Who can be adopted and these U.S. requirements.

Prospective adoptive parents may petition the Afghan family court for guardianship of a specific child. However, obtaining legal guardianship under Afghan law does not automatically signify that a child is an orphan under U.S. law.

How To Adopt

Afghanistan’s Adoption Authority

There is no central government adoption authority. Guardianship proceedings are handled by the Afghan Family Court.

The Process

The process for adopting a child from Afghanistan generally includes the following steps:

1.  Choose an adoption service provider
2.  Identify a child to adopt
3.  Apply to be found eligible to adopt
4.  Gain guardianship of the child in Afghanistan
5.  Apply for the child to be found eligible for orphan status
6.  Bring your child home

1.  Choose an Adoption Service Provider

The recommended first step in adopting a child from Afghanistan is to decide whether or not to use a licensed adoption service provider in the United States that can help you with your adoption. Adoption service providers must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. The Department of State provides information on selecting an adoption service provider on its website.

2.  Identify a child to adopt

If you are found eligible to adopt, and have identified a child who is in need of a guardian per Afghan law and meets the definition of orphan under U.S. law, you may petition the Afghan Family Court to obtain guardianship of that child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of and provide a permanent home for a particular child.

The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Afghanistan’s requirements, as described in the Who Can Be Adopted section. The child must also meet the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law.

3.  Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

In order to adopt a child from Afghanistan, you will need to meet the requirements of the Government of Afghanistan and U.S. immigration law. In order to obtain guardianship of an Afghan child, you must file a guardianship petition with the Afghan Family Court.

Prospective guardians should appear in person at the Afghan Family Court in the province in which they were born (for U.S. citizens who were born in Afghanistan), or in the province in which the child is currently residing, to file a petition for guardianship of a particular child. A designated attorney can represent the prospective guardian in court. The court will consider the request and complete a community/background investigation. If the court approves the guardianship petition, the guardians and two witnesses will appear in person at the Family Court and a legal guardianship decree will be issued. Again, a designated attorney can represent the prospective guardians in court. The final guardianship decree can be obtained from the Family Court in approximately one week.

To meet U.S. immigration requirements, you may also file an I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition with U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be found eligible and suitable to adopt.

4.  Gain Legal Custody of Child in Afghanistan

The process for gaining legal custody in Afghanistan generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority:  There is no central government adoption authority. Guardianship proceedings are filed in the Afghan family courts.
  • Role of the Court:  Prospective parents must petition the Afghan Family Court for guardianship. The court will issue a ‘wasiqa’ granting guardianship to the prospective parents.
  • Role of Adoption Agencies:  None.
  • Adoption Application:  An application for legal guardianship should be presented to the Afghan Family Court. The application can be obtained through the Family Courts.
  • Time Frame:  There is no specific time frame.
  • Adoption Fees:  There are minimal fees (less than USD $100) required to apply for legal guardianship and to have the guardianship decree translated into English and authenticated by the court. The current passport fee for a Afghan passport with five year validity is approximately USD $100.
  • Documents Required:  Prospective guardians or their attorney should consult the Family Court to determine what documents should be submitted with the guardianship petition.
  • Authentication of Documents:  You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office may be able to assist.

Note:  Additional documents may be requested.

5.  Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Orphan Status

After you finalize the adoption (or gain legal custody) in Afghanistan, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must determine whether the child meets the definition of orphan under U.S. immigration law. You will need to file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.

6.  Bring Your Child Home

Once your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), you need to apply for several documents for your child before you can apply for a U.S. immigrant visa to bring your child home to the United States:

Birth Certificate
If you have been granted custody for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States, a new Afghan birth certificate will not be issued, even after you obtain legal guardianship of the child. The original Afghan ‘tazkera’ will remain valid and will permanently list the biological father’s name. The guardianship decree should be used in tandem with the Afghan ‘tazkera’ for any legal matters where a birth certificate and evidence of legal custody are required.

Afghan Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Afghanistan.

You can obtain an Afghan passport for your child at the Passport Office in Kabul or at the office in your or the child’s home province. You should submit the child’s original Afghan ‘tazkera’ and the guardianship decree with the passport application. The fee for a five year validity passport is approximately USD $100 and it takes approximately one to two weeks to process.

U.S. Immigrant Visa
After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child and you have filed Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, you then need to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child.

You can find instructions for applying for an immigrant visa on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul’s website.

The prospective adoptive child must be the beneficiary of an approved Form I-600 petition before an immigrant visa may be issued. Prospective adoptive parents who have a valid, approved Form I-600A may file their Form I-600 either in the United States with USCIS’s National Benefits Center or in person at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Contact the Embassy in Kabul at KabulIV@state.gov to schedule an immigrant visa interview for your prospective adoptive child.

A Form I-604 Determination on Child for Adoption (sometimes informally referred to as an orphan investigation) is required in all orphan adoption cases, even if a Form I-600 petition has been approved, and serves to verify that the child is an orphan as defined by U.S. immigration law. Generally, the Form I-604 is initiated after the prospective adoptive parent(s) file their Form I-600 petition. Depending upon the circumstances of the case, it can take several months for the I-604 to be completed. Adoptive parents are advised to have flexible travel plans while awaiting the results of the I-604 investigation.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States:  A child will acquire U.S. citizenship upon entry into the United States if the adoption was finalized prior to entry and the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States:  An adoption will need to be completed following your child’s entry into the United States for the child to acquire U.S. citizenship.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Afghanistan
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Afghanistan, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Afghanistan, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

After Adoption

Guardians are not required to provide periodic reports on the child’s adjustment and welfare to the Afghan Family Court.

Post-Adoption Resources
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note:  Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

Contact Information

U.S. Embassy Kabul
Great Massoud Road, Kabul, Afghanistan
Tel: +011 0700 108 499
Email: KabulACS@state.gov
Website: https://af.usembassy.gov

Embassy of Afghanistan
2233 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Suite #216
Washington, D.C.  20007
Tel: (202) 298-9125
Fax: (202) 298-9127
Email: consulate@embassyofafghanistan.org
Website: http://www.embassyofafghanistan.org/

Afghanistan also has consulates in New York and Los Angeles.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: AskCI@state.gov
Website: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel:  1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax: 1- 913-214-5808
Email:  NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel:  1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet:  uscis.gov

  • Visa Classifications
  • General Documents | Birth, Death, Burial Certificates | Marriage, Divorce Certificates
  • Adoption Certificates | Identity Card | Police, Court, Prison Records | Military Records
  • Passports & Other Travel Documents | Other Records | Visa Issuing Posts | Visa Services
Classifications
Visa Classifications

Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 12 Months
A-2 None Multiple 12 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 3 Months
B-1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1 None One 3 Months
C-1/D N/A N/A N/A
C-2 None One 3 Months
C-3 None One 3 Months
CW-1 11 None One 3 Months
CW-2 11 None One 3 Months
D None Multiple 24 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None One 3 Months
F-1 None Multiple 12 Months
F-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-1 None Multiple 12 Months
G-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-3 None Multiple 12 Months
G-4 None Multiple 12 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B None One 3 Months 3
H-1C None One 3 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A3
H-2B None N/A N/A3
H-2R None N/A 3 Months3
H-3 None One 3 Months 3
H-4 None One 3 Months 3
I None One 3 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 12 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 12 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None One 6 Months
K-4 None One 6 Months
L-1 None One 3 Months
L-2 None One 3 Months
M-1 None Multiple 12 Months
M-2 None Multiple 12 Months
N-8 None Multiple 12 Months
N-9 None Multiple 12 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None One 3 Months 3
O-2 None One 3 Months 3
O-3 None One 3 Months 3
P-1 None One 3 Months 3
P-2 None One 3 Months 3
P-3 None One 3 Months 3
P-4 None One 3 Months 3
Q-1 6 None One 3 Months 3
R-1 None One 3 Months
R-2 None One 3 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None One 3 Months
V-2 None One 3 Months 8
V-3 None One 3 Months 8

N/A 3
N/A 3

Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Visa Category Footnotes

  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

General Documents | Birth, Death, Burial Certificates | Marriage, Divorce Certificates
General Documents

Alert: Protracted wartime conditions and the intermittent absence of an established central authority have made document availability and reliability uncertain in Afghanistan.  Procedures for obtaining government documents change with great frequency.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available:

        Not required for IV purposes, see Comments below

Fees: There are no fees.

Document Name: Kart Tawalod (Da Zokry Sanad)

Issuing Authority: Clinics and hospitals

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: yellow card

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: administrative staff

Registration Criteria: Issued for children who were delivered at a registered clinic or hospital.

Procedure for Obtaining:  Parents must present their tazkeras (national identity documents) to the appropriate staff at the clinic or hospital where the child was born.

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are available.

Alternate Documents: After issuance at the hospital, Kart Tawalods may be registered with the Ministry of Interior’s Population Registration Department and a record is also kept by the Ministry of Public Health.  The kart tawalod is not the primary means of establishing identity or citizenship in Afghanistan – rather it is considered as supplemental evidence of birth.  The tazkera (national identity document) is the principle document used in official settings for proof of identity, citizenship, and also used as a quasi-birth record.  All Afghan applicants applying for U.S. immigrant, special immigrant, or other such visas must present a tazkera, regardless of whether they also choose to submit a kart tawalod. 

Exceptions: None

Comments:  All Afghan citizens should be able to present a tazkera (national identity document) as proof of their identity and their birth place.  Kart tawalod may be considered as supplementary documentation but should not be utilized as primary evidence of date and/or place of birth or identity.  Please refer to the National ID section for information on tazkeras.

 

Death Certificates

Available

Fees: There are no fees.

Document Name:  Sanad Wafat (Da Marani Sanad)

Issuing Authority: Afghanistan Central Civil Registration Authorities (ACCRA) and Population Registration Department (PRD) of the Ministry of Interior.  Also issued by hospitals, the Ministry of Public Health, and Afghan Courts

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Varies considerably depending on which authority is issuing the death certificate

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  Varies considerably depending on which authority is issuing the document

Registration Criteria:  Death certificates are only issued to Afghan citizens

Procedure for Obtaining: A family member of the deceased may file a request for a death certificate with ACCRA.  The requester will be issued a form that must be signed by his/her Area Representative (Wakil Guzar) and two witnesses to verify that the death occurred.  If a person dies in a hospital, a letter from the hospital can be attached as additional evidence of the death.  Once the form has been signed by all parties, the requester submits it back to ACCRA and a death certificate is issued.

If the death occurs in a rural area, the requester must file an application with the District Governor’s office.  The village representative or Malik (influential elder) from the requestor’s village and two witnesses will be asked to confirm the death.  Based on this confirmation, the District Governor’s office will attest that the death occurred and issue a document which can be presented to ACCRA to obtain the official death certificate.

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are available.

Alternate Documents: There are no alternate documents.

Exceptions: None

Comments: Timely registration of deaths is not common in Afghanistan.  Typically, a death certificate is only requested and obtained as part of an official requirement such as resolution of an inheritance, request for governmental compensation, or when applying for a foreign visa.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Available

Fees: 300 AF

Document Name:  Nekah Khat or Sharaei Waseqa Khat

Issuing Authority: Primary Court, Conduct Court, Family Court 

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: The Nekah Khat is a green booklet with photos of the bride, groom, and two witnesses.  The Sharaei Waseqa Khat is a white one-page document with photos of the bride, groom, and five witnesses.

Issuing Authority Personnel Title:  Court Administrator

Registration Criteria: National identity documents (tazkeras) and passport-sized photos of the bride, groom, and each witness

Procedure for Obtaining: Either the groom, the bride and groom together, or a relative submits an application to the Conduct Court, along with the tazkeras and photos of the bride and groom.  The court’s Administrative Office will issue a form which is then taken to the couple’s Area Representative (Wakil Gozar) to certify that the marriage occurred.  The groom, bride, and witnesses will then be interviewed by a judge.  (If either the husband or wife is unable to appear in-person, he/she may be represented by an authorized lawyer.)   If the judge authorizes the issuance of the Nekah Khat booklet, it must then be taken to the Supreme Court for certification.

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are available.

Alternate Documents:  To obtain a Sharaei Waseqa Khat, an application must be submitted to the Primary Court or Conduct Court.  The requestor must present original tazkeras of the bride and groom along with passport-sized photos of each.  Additionally, five witnesses will need to appear before the judge to swear that the wedding took place.  The judge will then prepare the Sharaie Waseqa Khat, which includes the date of marriage, signatures and thumb prints of the bride, groom, and witnesses, and photos of all parties.  The Primary Court or Conduct Court will register the Shariae Waseqa Khat, after which it must then be taken to the Supreme Court for certification.

Exceptions: None

Comments:  Marriages are often only recorded when evidence is required for an official purpose such as immigration.  Outside of major cities, a married woman might not be permitted to register her own marriage, and may also have scant knowledge of the individuals who served as witnesses for the court process.  

 

Divorce Certificates

Available

Fees: There are no fees.

Document Name:  Talaq Khat

Issuing Authority: Supreme Court

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Booklet or two-sided document

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Administrative staff

Registration Criteria: Divorce in Afghanistan is a complicated process, as is the issuance process for a divorce certificate.  Individuals seeking divorce certificates are recommended to consult a legal expert for the process that best fits their particular circumstances.

Procedure for Obtaining: As mentioned previously, individuals seeking a divorce certificate in Afghanistan are recommended to consult with a legal advisor.  The following is just one mechanism for obtaining a divorce certificate:

  • If a man in Afghanistan wants to obtain a Talaq Khat, he can submit an application to the Family Court, along with his marriage certificate, his and his wife’s tazkeras (national identity document), and their photos.  The Family Court will issue a form, which is then taken to the requestor’s police district office and Regional Representative for certification.  Once the form is submitted back to the Family Court, the husband and wife will be scheduled for an interview by a judge.  The judge may order a pause in the proceedings to encourage the couple to make one last attempt at reconciliation or may proceed with issuing a divorce order.  Administrative personnel will then prepare the Talaq Khat.  The husband, wife, and two witnesses must then return to court to sign the Talaq Khat, which is then passed to the Supreme Court for final signature.

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are available.

Alternate Documents: Hand-written divorce letters are sometimes executed by a husband or wife, but such documents are not legally recognized.

Exceptions: None

Comments: Divorce is still rare in Afghanistan. 

Adoption Certificates | Identity Card | Police, Court, Prison Records | Military Records
Adoption Certificates

Adoption Certificates

Unavailable: Adoption is illegal under Islamic law.

 

Guardianship Certificates

Available

Fees: There are no fees.

Document Name: Sanad e Sarparasti/Sarparasti Khat

Issuing Authority: Family Court

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: An A4 sized, two-sided document, usually printed in two colors

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Administrative staff

Registration Criteria: The child’s current guardian and the guardian-to-be must appear in-person with witnesses and present their tazkeras (national identity documents) and passport-sized photos, along with confirmation from the Area Representative (Wakil Gozar).  If the guardian or guardian-to-be is from a rural area, confirmation from the village Malik (respected elder) is also required.

Procedure for Obtaining: Guardianship applications are filed with the Family Court.  The prospective guardian(s) will complete a form attesting that they are in compliance with Afghan guardianship criteria.  The form must then be certified by the prospective guardian’s District Police Office and Area Representative, after which it is returned to the Family Court.  A judge will review the guardianship package and, if approved, a guardianship order will be issued.  If the prospective guardians reside in Afghanistan, they are required to provide periodic updates on the child’s well-being to the court.  

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are available.

Alternate Documents: There are no alternate documents.

Exceptions: None

Comments: Formal guardianship through a court process is still a new phenomenon in Afghanistan.  It is not the equivalent of an adoption. If children become orphans in Afghanistan, it is common for them to move-in with family members.  These arrangements are generally informal and rarely documented through an official guardianship court process.

Identity Card

National ID Cards (Tazkera)

Available

Fees: 10 AF

Document Name: Tazkera

Issuing Authority: Afghanistan Central Civil Registration Authorities (ACCRA); Population Registration Department (PRD) of Ministry of Interior (MOI)

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format:  A4-sized Paper.  Adult tazkeras always include a photo.  Tazkeras for minors may or may not include a photo

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: PRD administrative staff  

Registration Criteria: Applicant must submit the application form, his/her father’s tazkera, and passport-sized photos.  If the father’s tazkera is not available, a different relative on the father’s side (such as the father’s sibling or aunt/uncle) may be substituted. 

Procedure for Obtaining: The first step is to confirm the applicant’s identity.  In a city or larger town, this confirmation will be handled by an Area Representative (Wakil Gozar), while applicants from villages will use a Malik (respected elder).  After the applicant’s identity is recorded, the individual can apply for a tazkera with the Ministry of Interior.  The tazkera lists the holder’s name, date and place of birth, basic physical description, military service, religion, marital status, profession/employment and also includes a photo.  The document also lists the holder’s age as of the year the document was issued, but this is usually just an estimate as birth records are seldom available.  Applicants over age 7 must apply in-person and submit a thumb print. Parents may apply for a tazkera on behalf of their children.  Applicants outside of Afghanistan should contact their nearest Afghan Embassy or Consulate on how to obtain a tazkera.  

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are available.

Alternate Documents: There are no alternate documents.

Exceptions: None

Comments:  Afghans usually apply for a tazkera when a child reaches school age, but it can also be obtained and/or modified throughout adulthood.  The document traces its holder’s roots through the father; mother’s names are not usually listed on tazkeras.  Tazkeras are hand-written, and there have been multiple variants of the document since 1976.  U.S Embassy Kabul requires all Afghan citizens who are applying for immigrant, special immigrant, or other such visas to submit a tazkera, as proof of identity and birth. Some Afghan citizens may also possess birth certificates issued by clinics or hospitals in Afghanistan, but these documents are not accepted for U.S. visa processing.  U.S. Embassy Kabul requires that all tazkeras be accompanied by a certified English translation.  The tazkera must first be authenticated by the Ministry of Interior before an English translation may be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Partially available for very limited periods.  Not required for the U.S. visa process due to their unreliability. 

Fees: There are no fees.

Document Name: Adam Masooliat

Issuing Authority: Ministry of Interior

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: A4 paper

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Criminal Investigation Division personnel

Registration Criteria: There is no registration criteria.

Procedure for Obtaining: Afghan citizens must submit their tazkera (national identity document), photos, and an official letter to the Ministry of Interior, Criminal Investigation Division. Foreigners must submit a letter from their country-of-nationality showing that the certificate is required along with proof of identity and photos to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are available.

Alternate Documents: There are no alternate documents.

Comments: These documents are considered to be completely unreliable and, as such, applicants for U.S. visas are not required to submit police clearances from Afghanistan.

 

Court/Prison Records

Available  

Fees: There are no fees.

Document Name: Criminal Record

Issuing Authority: Ministry of Interior

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: A4 Paper

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Criminal Investigation Division personnel

Registration Criteria: Any individual who has resided in Afghanistan may apply for a criminal record.

Procedure for Obtaining: Afghan citizens should submit their national ID (tazkera), photos, and an official letter to the Ministry of Interior, Criminal Investigation Division. Foreigners who wish to apply for a criminal record must submit a letter from their country-of-nationality to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting the issuance of a criminal record along with their ID and photos.

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are available.

Alternate Documents: There are no alternate documents.

Exceptions: None

Comments: Criminal records are generally not issued directly to an applicant.  Rather, they are usually sent directly to the Embassy or requesting entity. The applicants are generally supplied with a reference number for the document, which can be shared with requesting authorities.

Military Records

Available

Fees: There are no fees.

Document Name: Tarkhis (Military Verification Card)

Issuing Authority: Ministry of Defense (MoD)

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: A4 paper with a Ministry of Defense signature and stamp

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Ministry of Defense personnel

Procedure for Obtaining: Submission of application along with a photo, the requester’s tazkera (national identity document), and dates of military service.

Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are available.

Alternate Documents: There are no alternate documents.

Exceptions: None

Comments: None

Passports & Other Travel Documents | Other Records | Visa Issuing Posts | Visa Services
Passports & Other Travel Documents

Types Available: Regular Passport, Diplomatic Passport, Official/Service passport, Special Passport, and Travel Document

Fees: Varies based on type and validity of passport starting at 5000 AFs.  Applicants can apply for 5 year or 10 year validity passports

Issuing Government Authority: Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Special Seal(s) / Color / Format: Regular Passport (cyan blue-green cover); Diplomatic Passport (black cover (as of late 2017), previously cover was navy blue in color); Official/Service Passport (red cover); Special Passport (navy blue cover, issuance started in late 2017); and Travel Document (baby blue cover)

Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Passport Department staff

Registration Criteria: Afghan citizen 

Procedure for Obtaining: Applicants residing in Kabul generally apply at the Ministry of Interior Passport Department.  Applicants in other parts of the country apply at their Provincial Passport Office, which will forward the application to the Kabul Passport Department for issuance. Applicants applying for a regular passport must submit an application along with a copy of their original attested tazkera (national identity document) and passport-sized photos.  A bio data form will be completed, and then the applicants are scheduled for biometric appointments.  Each applicant is given an invoice (Tarofa) which must be paid at a bank, with the payment confirmation returned to the Passport Department.  Once proof of payment is received, the applicant will be notified when to pick up the passport.  Applicants applying outside of Kabul will retrieve their passports from the Provincial Passport Office.  Applicants outside of Afghanistan should contact their nearest Afghan Embassy or Consulate. 

Alternate Documents: There are no alternate documents.

Exceptions: None

Comments:  Previously-issued handwritten passports are no longer valid for air travel by the Afghan government and the International Civil Aviation Organization; all such travelers are required to possess machine-readable passport.  Biographic information in machine-readable passports frequently does not match biographic information contained in older handwritten passports.  

In 2017, Afghanistan started producing navy blue Special Passports, available to retired government officials and sportsmen.  The light blue colored Travel Document, containing only four pages for visas and stamps, is used to document Afghan citizens who are being repatriated back to Afghanistan.  

Other Records

Not applicable.

 

Visa Issuing Posts

Post Title: Embassy of the United States in Kabul, Afghanistan

Address: Great Massoud Road, Kabul, Afghanistan

Phone Number: +93-70010-8000

Visa Services:   Non-Immigrant Visas, Immigrant Visas, Special Immigrant Visas, Refugee and Aslyee Follow-to-Join application, Returning Resident Visas

Comments / Additional Information:  U.S. Embassy Kabul operates on a Sunday – Thursday work schedule

Visa Services

All non-immigrant visa applications for nationals of Afghanistan are now processed by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, to include petition-based visas. As of May 1, 2011, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul also processes immigrant visa applications for nationals of Afghanistan.

Applications already assigned for interview, or waiting for processing based on an interview already conducted at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan or other Embassies for Afghan citizens will continue to be processed there.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul is located at Great Masood Road between Radio Afghanistan and the Ministry of Public Health. The road is also known as Bebe Mahro (Airport) Road. The U.S. Embassy provides routine American Citizen Services, including passports, notarial services, and CRBAs. Security considerations limit Consular officers' mobility and ability to provide emergency consular services, and Afghan authorities can provide only limited assistance to U.S. citizens facing difficulties.