Dramatic situation for population in Afghanistan

Afghanistan: humanitarian visa advisory service SRC

Since early August, the situation has worsened for the population of Afghanistan. Many Afghans living in Switzerland are afraid for the lives of their relatives and have contacted the SRC for advice about obtaining a humanitarian visa. Below you will find some answers to the most important questions.

What can the humanitarian visa advisory service do under the current circumstances?

The advisory service is currently receiving many enquiries about humanitarian visas for Afghans.

In accordance with the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) criteria, two basic criteria must be met in ordner to qualify for a humanitarian visa: 

  1. Proof of a situation of immediate danger to life and limb is required. It is not sufficient that the applicants merely belong to a group that is potentially at risk.
  2. Persons concerned must have close ties to Switzerland. Such close ties could be:
    • Close and regularly maintained relationships with relatives residing in Switzerland (Swiss citizens or relatives such as aunt, uncle, parents, and grandparents with an annual or permanent residence or settlement permit);
    • A previous long-term stay and close ties to Switzerland is proven;
    • There is evidence of exposed employment for a Swiss governmental organisation until immediately before the Taliban came to power.

      >> If the activity is for a non-governmental Swiss organisation, this organisation must have been financially supported by the Confederation. Exposing gainful activity can be understood as, for example, working as a lawyer or actively promoting human rights. Purely auxiliary activities such as employment as a chauffeur, cook, gardener or cleaner are not sufficient.

Finally, the persons have to leave Afghanistan in order to apply for a visa at the Swiss embassy in Iran or Pakistan. No further evacuation flights are planned at the moment. It is not possible to issue humanitarian visas to people who are unable to leave the country.

When can the humanitarian visa advisory service support humanitarian visa applications?

The advisory service can only help individuals who meet the criteria listed above. The SEM will not issue humanitarian visas to any other persons. The advisory service cannot then be of assistance.   

What is the best way to contact the humanitarian visa advisory service?

If you meet the above criteria, please write to us at mig@redcross.ch, explaining the individual’s current situation and the reasons why they are in danger, attaching any documentation in support of the application.

Any individuals who do not meet the SEM criteria will receive a standard response, as we cannot currently provide individual responses due to the large number of enquiries at this time.