UNHCR UK information and links on Afghanistan Situation

The following information is to assist persons hoping to leave Afghanistan or persons with friends or family in Afghanistan or who are forcibly displaced in the region.

The following information is to assist persons hoping to leave Afghanistan or persons with friends or family in Afghanistan or who are forcibly displaced in the region. 

The UK Government has announced two schemes to support Afghan nationals: the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS). UNHCR is only involved with one cohort of the ACRS.  

Afghan Relocations and Assistant Policy (ARAP) 

This scheme offers relocation or other assistance to former Locally Employed Staff (LES) in Afghanistan to reflect the changing situation in Afghanistan. UNHCR is not involved in this scheme. The ARAP scheme was launched on 1 April 2021 and remains open. 

If any former LES believe they qualify, they should apply by using the online application form available here: Application For Relocation To The United Kingdom Under ARAP (office.com). They will be eligible to apply from any country (including Afghanistan and regardless of their employment status, rank or role, or length of time served. 

There are four categories for assistance, against which all ARAP applications are assessed. More information can be found here: Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy: further information on eligibility criteria, offer details and how to apply – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). 

If an applicant is successful under the ARAP scheme, they will have the opportunity to apply for indefinite leave to enter the UK. Applicants already in the UK with temporary status under ARAP can apply, free of charge, to convert their status to indefinite leave to remain. Eligible applicants will be able to bring certain family members with them to the UK. 

You can contact the Home Office with questions related to the ARAP scheme by using this form: ARAP Contact Us با ما تماس بگیرید موږ سره اړیکه ونیسئ (office.com). UNHCR is not involved in this form.  

Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) 

The UK Government formally opened the ACRS on 6 January 2022. Through this scheme, the UK Government will prioritise:  

  • those who have assisted the UK efforts in Afghanistan and stood up for values such as democracy, women’s rights, freedom of speech, and rule of law 
  • vulnerable people, including women and girls at risk, and members of minority groups at risk (including ethnic and religious minorities and LGBT+) 

Please note that there is no application process for the ACRS. Referral for the ACRS will be in one of three ways which can be found here: Afghan citizens resettlement scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).  

UNHCR offices in the region will only be involved with the referral of Afghan refugees, who by definition are individuals outside of their country of origin, and who are deemed in need of resettlement. Any future referrals to the ACRS would be in line with UNHCR’s resettlement procedures. This means that, UNHCR colleagues in the region will assess individual refugee’s protection needs in the country where they reside, and submit their cases for resettlement if it is deemed appropriate. Refugees cannot apply for resettlement. Further information can be found: Resettlement – UNHCR Frequently asked questions 

Please note that UNHCR cannot identify or refer Afghan nationals inside Afghanistan for relocation to the UK under the ACRS. 

Support for Afghans in Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

If you are in Afghanistan or in a neighbouring country, or you have friends and families who are there, you may wish to refer them to UNHCR Help Pages: 

Please note, the UK Government has a helpline that can be used if you are a non-British national in Afghanistan or are a family member of a non-British national in Afghanistan, and in need of assistance, call: +44 2475 389 980 (or 02475 389 980 in the UK).