Legal assistance

On this page, you can find information about legal assistance offered by UNHCR. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, please contact us.

Can UNHCR provide me with legal assistance?

UNHCR currently provides free legal aid and legal counselling in Herat, Paktika, Paktia, Khost, Ghazni, Kunduz and Kabul provinces. Legal counselling is conducted by lawyers, and is available to refugees, asylum seekers, Internally Displaced Persons (Afghans who have been forced to leave their home due to conflict or other reasons) and Afghans who have returned to Afghanistan after living as refugees in another country.  

Legal counselling is tailored legal advice provided on an individual basis to assist with a particular legal issue. Our lawyers can help you with a broad range of issues, including: 

  • Family law
  • House, land and property rights 
  • Access to civil registration and documentation 

UNHCR also provides legal aid to individuals in need of civil documentation, which includes material support for the issuance of documents.

How can I get legal assistance?

UNHCR currently only provides free legal aid and counselling in Herat, Paktika, Paktia, Khost, Ghazni, Kabul and Kunduz provinces. If you live in one of the provinces and require legal assistance, please contact us to find out if you are eligible for assistance.

Get help with civil documentation

This information explains how you can obtain official documents in Afghanistan.

If you need help with obtaining official documents, UNHCR might be able to help. For more information, contact our toll-free helpline numbers.

National ID card - Tazkira

Tazkira is the official Afghan national identity document issued by the government. It serves as a valid form of identification and is linked to a national database.

A tazkira is essential for things like:

  • Receiving free public medical care at hospitals or clinics
  • Admission to school or university
  • Receiving other civil documentations such Passport and Marriage certificate
  • Going on Hajj
  • Applying for work, as most employers, including the government, require a tazkira
  • Obtaining a passport or driver’s license
  • Participating in elections
  • Obtaining a formal land deeds
  • Participating in a court case

To get a Tazkira:

  1. You can obtain a Tazkira based on a male relative Tazkira, such as your father, grandfather, uncle, or brother.
  2. Prepare six ID photos.
  3. Visit the PRD (Population Registration Department) or NSIA office and complete a petition or application form.
  4. Have the form certified by a Wakil-e-Guzar or Arbab (they should complete the form and stamp it) and return it to the PRD.
  5. Submit the petition form, along with the male relative’s Tazkira and ID photos, to the PRD.
  6. Await notification from the PRD on when to collect your Tazkira.
  7. For e-Tazkira, biometric collection is necessary.

Birth certificates

A birth certificate is a legal document that verifies a child’s date and time of birth, as well as their parentage (mother and father). In Afghanistan, this document can be requested any time before a child turns five years old. The Ministry of Public Health is responsible for registering births occurring in medical facilities, including issuing birth certificates.

Birth certificates are important for:

  • Legal identification: Having a birth certificate makes it much easier to obtain a Tazkira in the future. For instance, when a child turns one, their father can apply for their birth certificate without the assistance of a lawyer, Malik, or Arbab. This can be done by simply presenting the child’s birth certificate and his own ID card.
  • Proof of parentage: A birth certificate proves a family link between the child and its parents, which is important for inheritance rights and child custody cases.
  • Protection of rights: Children born without a birth certificate are at risk of being denied their basic rights. This includes access to education, healthcare and other social services. A birth certificate provides legal proof of a child’s age and identity, protecting them from potential exploitation, child labor and child marriage.

The process of getting a birth certificate depends on whether the child is born in a hospital or at home.

If the child is born in a hospital or clinic:

  1. After the child is born, the parents are provided with a yellow card with the child’s name, father’s name, date and time of birth, and the name of the hospital.
  2. The father must submit the yellow card to the PRD (Population Registration Department) and complete a form to request a birth certificate.
  3. The form must be signed by both parents and the chief obstetrician who examined the child’s health.
  4. Once completed, the PRD will issue the birth certificate.

If the child is born at home:

  1. The child’s father must visit the Department of Registration (Vital Statistics) to fill out a form and request a birth certificate.
  2. The tazkira department will send a letter to the wakil Guzar, Malik or Arbab to verify the child’s birth.
  3. Once the birth is confirmed, the tazkira distribution department (PRD) will issue the birth certificate.

In case of loss of a birth certificate, you can request a copy (musana) through the following process:

  1. The applicant begins by preparing an application or petition detailing the issue and the need to reacquire the birth certificate.
  2. For reissuing a missing birth certificate, the required documents include a radio announcement document, two photos, and a copy of the missing birth certificate. For a damaged birth certificate, two photos and the original damaged birth certificate are necessary.
  3. The applicant then submits the required documents to the civil registration office in their city or district within Kabul province. Once the application process is complete, the applicant will receive their birth certificate.


Marriage certificates

After a couple has married, they can obtain a marriage certificate to confirm their legal status as husband and wife.

A marriage certificate is important for things like:

  • Travelling together as a couple, both inside and outside Afghanistan. For couples travelling to Makkah for Hajj or Umrah, for example, a marriage certificate is mandatory.

To get a marriage certificate:

  1. The married couple must complete an application form from the appropriate family court.
  2. Once completed, the form must be signed by community elders (Malak or Wakil Guzar) and neighbors to confirm the identity and residency of the married couple.
  3. The application form must be submitted to the relevant court, where it will be reviewed. The court will then provide a date for the couple to return for further proceedings.
  4. On the given date, the couple must appear in court with two witnesses to confirm their marriage in front of a judge. Once confirmed, the court will issue a marriage certificate to the couple.


Death certificates

A death certificate is a legal document issued by government authorities to officially confirm a person’s death. This document is recorded on official deaths register.

In the event of a relative’s death, obtaining a death certificate may be necessary for:

  • Legal reasons e.g. settling the deceased person’s estate, transferring ownership of property, and closing bank accounts and other financial accounts.
  • Insurance claims, pensions or social security benefits, or other government benefits, where a proof of death is required. For example, if relative was a civil servant, you may be able to receive their pension after their death, but you’ll need a death certificate to do this.

To get a death certificate:

  1. Visit the Department of Tazkira (PRD) in the provincial or district center.
  2. Inform the Population Registration Department about the death and submit the deceased person’s Tazkira to a civil servant.
  3. The Population Registration Department will then contact the district attorney or village leader where the person lived to confirm the death.
  4. Once the death has been confirmed, the Population Registration Department will stamp a form, known as a death sheet (Khat e futi), and provide it to the deceased person’s relatives.