Consular Officers May Waive Interviews for Some International Students Through End of 2021

On September 14, 2021, DOS expanded categories of visa applications that can be adjudicated without an in-person interview. DOS has authorized consular officers through the end of 2021 to expand the categories of F, M, and “academic J visa applicants” (students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists ) whose applications can be adjudicated without an in-person...

Update on How Embassies/Consulates are Prioritizing Immigrant Visa Applications

Update post 09/21/2021 DOS provides an update stating that consular sections, where possible, are scheduling some appointments within all four priority tiers every month. Also, the guidance states that, “Recognizing the emergence of the COVID Delta variant and the continued demand for healthcare professionals during the pandemic, U.S. embassies and consulates were instructed that they may...

Check your I-94 as soon as you arrive: CBP may not have given you the maximum duration of stay

When working on a beneficiary's H-1B extension, I-140, or I-485 filing, we would send a checklist to the beneficiary listing information and documents that we need to prepare the petition or application. One of the items listed is a copy of the most recent I-94. We often encounter a situation where the beneficiary is shocked to find out that their I-94 has already expired after downloading it...

The Supreme Court Rules TPS Is Not an Admission for Purposes of Adjustment of Status

The Supreme Court just handed down a decision that will deflate the hope of filing for green card (while present in the U.S.) for about 400,000 individuals in the U.S. with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The case concerns the plight of Jose Sanchez who with his wife and three children entered the US illegally in 1997. His fourth child was born in the U.S. and is a U.S. Citizen. In 2001, after...

National Interest Exceptions Available for Visitors from China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland

Update 08/18/2021 DOS updated its FAQ regarding the extension of validity to 12 months from the date of approval and for multiple entries for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs) for travelers from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area, the United Kington, Ireland, and India. Update Post 07/07/2021 The DOS on 06/29/2021 extended the validity of National Interest Exceptions (NIEs)...

FAQs on the Immigrant Visa Backlog

Update Post June 15, 2021 Due to covid, there’s a significant backlog for immigrant (IV) and nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applicants waiting a visa interview. U.S. embassies and consulates are using a tiered approach to triage IV applications based on the category of immigrant visas as they resume and expand processing. Scheduling of appointments are prioritized as follows: TIER 1: Immediate...

H-1B Ban Set to Expire March 31, 2021

Update April 1, 2021 DOS has just provided an update on its website. Visa applicants who have not yet been interviewed or scheduled for an interview will have their applications prioritized and processed in accordance with existing phased resumption of visa services guidance.  Visa applicants who were previously refused visas due to the restrictions of Presidential Proclamation...

Visa Bulletin Insights March 2021

Below are some takeaways from AILA regarding the Department of State's first "chat with Charlie" held on 3/17/2021 on the U.S. Department of State: Consular Affairs YouTube channel. This will be a recurring monthly segment where Charlie Oppenheim responds to the public’s questions regarding the Visa Bulletin. Debut of Chats with Charlie!The State Department’s inaugural engagement “Chats...

Consulates May Waive Visa Interviews for Certain Renewals

Update June 15, 2021 Please see a flyer below regarding the interview waiver procedure. If a consular has an interview waiver process in place and a visa applicant qualifies, the applicant must schedule their document drop-off or mail-in processing directly with that consular. Typically, these documents include: DS-160 confirmation page, a valid passport, pre-paid courier packaging for...

Rescission of Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983

Update March 16, 2021 As part of Biden's Proclamation on "Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States", the President has directed the State Department, within 45 days, to provide a report including a proposal for individuals whose immigrant visa applications were denied due to Proclamations 9645 or 9983 and seek to have their applications reconsidered.  The Department of State has...