! Before engaging in a return trip to Afghanistan, you should find as much reliable information as you can from official sources like BAFIA and UNHCR about the security situation in your final destination and how to get there. Do not initiate travel and/or void your Amayesh or Hoviat card until you are confident you can go back safely and in a durable manner.
Following the issuance of the UNHCR non-return advisory for Afghanistan on 16 August 2021, UNHCR remains cautious and continues to provide enhanced counselling to prospected returnees on the situation in their final destinations and routes thereto, particularly to those with more vulnerable profiles, on a case by case basis.
UNHCR and the Government of Iran assist those who wish to return to their country of origin (i.e. Afghanistan and Iraq) when the return can be done in safety and dignity.
If you are an Amayesh or Hoviat card holder and wish to return to your country of origin, we recommend you to inform yourself on the security situation and important aspects such as access to employment and availability of other basic services in your final destination.
How to benefit from the UNHCR Voluntary Repatriation program
You, and all your family members going back with you to your country of origin, should contact the UNHCR office nearest to your place of residence for counselling. You will be asked to sign a Voluntary Repatriation Form (VRF). The VRF is a document issued by UNHCR to returning refugees (returnees) confirming their intent to return voluntarily to Afghanistan/Iraq with the assistance of UNHCR. UNHCR provides returnees with a Transportation Grant for travel inside Iran up to the border.
It is important that you provide accurate information to UNHCR for filling in the VRF as this form will not be re-issued in Afghanistan/Iraq or elsewhere in Iran. In Afghanistan/Iraq, the VRF will serve you as a return document proving that you were a refugee in Iran.
Reintegration Grant for Afghans
For Afghan nationals, the VRF is also used to decide if you qualify for a Reintegration Grant. Once you have crossed the border and arrived in Islam Qala, UNHCR partner and Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations (MoRR) / Directorate of Refugee and Repatriation (DoRR) staff will inform you about next steps in Afghanistan.
The Reintegration Grant for Afghan nationals is provided at the UNHCR Encashment Centre (ECs) in Herat province in Afghanistan. At the EC, all returnees will receive basic health services, information on how to access legal aid assistance, and transit facilities for overnight stay. Those returning by air, depending on the area of destination, can receive the Reintegration Grant either at the Kabul Encashment Centre or other ECs/UNHCR offices close to their area of destination in Afghanistan. The returnees will be advised by a UNHCR staff which EC to approach when they are issued with a VRF.
Iraqi returnees do not get a Reintegration Grant. For any advice on return you may get in touch with our UNHCR Offices in Iraq. Please do check this link. If you are from a different country, you can find information about UNHCR there by going to their relevant Help site. You can find a list of all help sites here.
Repatriation by air
UNHCR may facilitate repatriation of refugees who wish to repatriate by air and can afford the cost of their plane ticket and arrange their own transportation to the airport.
If you are willing to repatriate by air, you should approach the relevant BAFIA office to surrender your Amayesh card, receive a travel LP and an introduction letter. You should then take your passport and introduction letter to the Disciplinary Forces (NAJA) in order to obtain an exit permit. Before surrendering your Amayesh card, we advise you to approach UNHCR for repatriation counselling.
Customs allowances and restrictions
The Government of Iran authorizes all repatriating Afghans to move their professional equipment/tools and home items with customs exemption unless prohibited. In order to export professional equipment and tools from Iran, a special permit is required. To obtain this permit, please contact your local BAFIA office.
Each family is allowed to carry home items in a family need quantity, any item more than the need of a family will be sentenced to customs taxation and UNHCR cannot support in such instances.
If you wish to access further information on Voluntary Repatriation and permitted and prohibited items you can refer to the online Voluntary Repatriation leaflets on the UNHCR Iran webpage: https://www.unhcr.org/ir/.
Non-Amayesh and non-Hoviat Card Holders
UNHCR does not have a programme for Voluntary Repatriation of non-Amayesh or non-Hoviat card holders.