In Iran, Afghans have access to different rights and services based on their status (Amayesh card holder, passport & visa holder, undocumented).
It should be noted that, in line with the approach of the Government of Iran, Amayesh card holders are the primary group of concern to UNHCR Iran. However, we strive to also support those most in need among passport & visa holders and the undocumented.
In general, the rights and services available to undocumented Individuals are limited compared to Amayesh card holders and passport & visa holders. When you approach UNHCR through our hotlines or reception centers, UNHCR collects information about your household in order to have an overview of the number and profiles of persons of concern in Iran, whether newly arrived or not, so that we can provide appropriate counselling and advocate on behalf of all persons in need of international protection with the Government of Iran. Please remember that all services provided by UNHCR to refugees are free of charge. In case of any misconduct or request for money, including for Resettlement, please report it – find our contact information here: https://help.unhcr.org/iran/en/contact/.
Registration & Documentation: The Government of Iran, through the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrant Affairs (BAFIA), is responsible for the registration of asylum-seekers and refugees as well as for Refugee Status Determination in Iran, in accordance with Iranian legislation. If you are newly arrived in Iran, you may wish to approach your local BAFIA office for further information. For new arrivals from Afghanistan, the Government of Iran is still deciding on the process for registration and documentation, and UNHCR does not have details on this yet. The UNHCR office in Iran does not accept applications for asylum in Iran and does not make decisions on asylum applications. Any new developments will be posted on the UNHCR Iran Help page. If you do not have a Tazkerah and/or valid passport, you may consider approaching the Afghan Embassy in Tehran or Consulate in Mashhad for counselling and support in obtaining identity documents.
Health: Undocumented individuals are not eligible for any health insurance in Iran. However, all primary healthcare is free of charge, regardless of your documentation status. You may access primary healthcare by approaching the health center or health post nearest to you. Hospital care is also available, however at a higher rate than for nationals
Work: Undocumented individuals are not eligible for Temporary Work Permits (TWP) that allow them to work legally in Iran.
Education: Since 2015, Iran began allowing all children of school age to attend primary and secondary school regardless of their documentation status and without having to pay refugee-specific tuition fees. School enrolment for the upcoming school year is closed; however, you may obtain more information on enrolment here.
Support for Persons with Specific Needs: UNHCR, in coordination with BAFIA, might be able to provide limited support to persons with specific needs, such as survivors of violence, children and women at-risk, persons with disabilities, and older persons, regardless of their documentation status. The support may include legal counseling, psychosocial support, and, in some extremely vulnerable cases, minimal cash assistance.
Resettlement: Do not believe rumours about registration for resettlement by UNHCR. While several states have pledged to make resettlement spaces available to Afghan refugees globally, they have not yet decided how these spaces will be shared among countries that are hosting Afghans. It is important to note that even when more Resettlement slots become available for Afghans in Iran, Resettlement will remain a solution that is only available to a very small proportion of refugees, whether in Iran or worldwide. Moreover, some countries have recently announced opportunities for Afghan nationals who have worked or been affiliated with those countries to apply for permission to travel to those countries. These programs are established by those countries and UNHCR does not refer people to the programs or process applications.
For reliable information, please visit the recently launched UNHCR Iran Help page (https://help.unhcr.org/iran/en), which provides up-to-date information to refugees seeking support in Iran, and the official UNHCR Instagram account.