Afghan citizens resettlement scheme

The Home Office has announced further details of the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme.

The UK formally opened the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) on 6 January 2022.

The scheme 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+)

The government will resettle more than 5,000 people in the first year and up to 20,000 over the coming years. We will work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to identify those we should help.

This is in addition to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme, which has already settled thousands of Afghans who have worked with the UK government, and their families. The ARAP is a separate scheme to the ACRS and offers Afghan nationals who have worked for or alongside the UK government, and meet the ARAP criteria, relocation in the UK.

Anyone who is resettled through the ACRS will receive indefinite leave to enter or remain (ILR) in the UK, and will be able to apply for British citizenship after 5 years in the UK under existing rules.

There is no application process for the ACRS. Prioritisation and referral for resettlement will be in one of 3 ways:

1. Vulnerable and at-risk individuals who arrived in the UK under the evacuation programme will be the first to be settled under the ACRS. Eligible people who were notified by the UK government that they had been called forward or specifically authorised for evacuation, but were not able to board flights, will also be offered a place under the scheme if they subsequently come to the UK. The first Afghan families have been granted ILR under the scheme.

2. Secondly, from spring 2022, the UNHCR will refer refugees in need of resettlement who have fled Afghanistan. The UNHCR has the global mandate to provide international protection and humanitarian assistance to refugees. We will continue to receive such referrals to the scheme in coming years.

3. The third referral pathway will relocate those at risk who supported the UK and international community effort in Afghanistan, as well as those who are particularly vulnerable, such as women and girls at risk and members of minority groups. In the first year of this pathway, the government will offer ACRS places to the most at risk British Council and GardaWorld contractors and Chevening alumni. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be in touch with those eligible to support them through next steps. Beyond the first year, the government will work with international partners and NGOs to welcome wider groups of Afghans at risk.

The focus of the ACRS will be on those people who remain in Afghanistan or the region, primarily Afghan nationals although nationals of other countries, for example in mixed nationality families, will also be eligible. Spouses, partners and dependent children under the age of 18 of eligible individuals will be eligible for the scheme. Other family members may be resettled in exceptional circumstances.

The ACRS demonstrates the government’s New Plan for Immigration in action, to expand and strengthen our safe and legal routes to the UK for those in need of protection. 

If you are a British or non-British national in Afghanistan and in need of assistance, view our support page for contact details.

Published 18 August 2021
Last updated 6 January 2022 + show all updates
  1. The scheme has formally opened.

  2. The scheme will commence in January.

  3. Page updated with more details of eligibility for the scheme.

  4. Further details about eligibility for the scheme added.

  5. Further details on the scheme published.

  6. Added advice on travel to Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport.

  7. Added link to support for British and non-British nationals in Afghanistan.

  8. Further details published including contact details.

  9. First published.