Last week, the US State Department blamed overseas visa backlogs on “staff limitations and other COVID-related operational constraints preventing us from processing the same volume of applicants as before the pandemic. “.
In a wide range of frequently asked questions (FAQs) that it posted on its website on immigrant visa backlogs and other consular processing issues, the department blamed the previous Trump administration without naming it saying that previous presidential proclamations “limited visa processing for many immigrants for almost a year.”
The FAQ said that it “prioritizes certain visas, creates efficiencies in the visa process and uses all available resources until our task is completed.”
The FAQ went on to say that virtual interviews for people abroad are not available because current regulations “require all immigrant visa applicants to appear in person before a consular officer.”
Here is the list of FAQs published by the State Department:
Why are there still backlogs of immigrant visa interviews?
Our number one priority is the safety of our candidates and staff. The backlog of IV interviews has grown due to staff limitations and other operational constraints related to COVID preventing us from processing the same volume of applicants as before the pandemic. Additionally, Presidential Proclamation 10014 and COVID Geographic Proclamations restricted visa processing for many immigrants for nearly a year; it will take time to process the cases that have been affected by these travel restrictions.
What are you doing to reduce the backlog?
We are committed to reducing this backlog by prioritizing certain visas, creating efficiencies in the visa process and using all available resources until our task is completed. Applicants should visit the website of the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for updates on currently available visa services.
Are virtual / zoom interviews available for immigrant visa applicants?
No. Current regulations require that all immigrant visa applicants appear in person before a consular officer.
I live near a US Consulate, but they don’t process immigrant visas to that particular location so I have to travel a long distance to show up for my interview. Why don’t you handle IV interviews in every US Embassy / Consulate?
As a better use of limited US government resources, immigration visa processing is consolidated in some embassies and consulates. The Department of State continually reviews the services we provide to best balance our service standards with efficient use of resources.
What are the regional COVID-19 restrictions?
The COVID-19 Geographic Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992 and 10143, which suspend the entry into the United States of foreign nationals who have been physically present in China, Iran, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil and South Africa within the 14 day before applying for entry into the United States, remain in effect.
As of April 8, 2021, all IV applicants and K fiancÃ© nonimmigrant visa applicants are excluded from COVID-19 geographic PPs and may be processed.
I’m waiting for an appointment for an immigrant visa. What should I do?
Interview-eligible immigrant visa applicants will be scheduled for appointments in accordance with our existing visa phased resumption guidelines: https://travel.state.gov/â¦/visa-services-operatingâ¦
How are immigrant visa applications prioritized?
Positions that process immigrant visa applications prioritize visa categories in accordance with our guidelines on the gradual resumption of visa services. For more information, please see: https://travel.state.gov/â¦/visa-services-operatingâ¦
I think I am eligible for an immigrant visa, but I would be traveling from a country with a regional COVID visa restriction. What should I do?
As of April 8, 2021, all immigrant visa applicants have been excluded from presidential proclamations related to COVID-19.
I have been refused an IV due to Proclamation 9645 or 9983. Can I reapply for a visa?
On January 20, the President ended travel restrictions under PP 9645 and PP 9983 which suspended entry into the United States of certain nationals from Burma, Eritrea, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela, and Yemen. IV applicants who have been refused under PP 9645 or 9983 and have been determined not to benefit from a waiver before January 20, 2020, can reapply for a visa by submitting a new visa application (DS- 260) and paying new visa processing fees. IV applicants who were refused due to PP 9645 or 9983 and whose waiver eligibility was still being assessed as of January 20, 2021, will continue to have their applications processed without having to submit a new application / fee.
When can I make an appointment for my K fiancÃ© visa interview?
K visa applicants will continue to have their applications prioritized according to the prioritization guidelines found here: https://travel.state.gov/â¦/visa-services-operatingâ¦. Please check the website of the embassy or consulate to see if routine visa services are provided. If you have already submitted all required documents, watch your email for an appointment and further instructions.
I am a complainant in Milligan v. Pompeo – can I schedule my interview for the K visa?
The K1 candidates who are named as complainants in Milligan v. Pompeo should contact the nearest embassy or consulate for advice on scheduling a visa interview. The court order does not require that claimants be given special priority before other K1 claimants.
I received a diversity visa in fiscal year 2020, but my visa expired and I was unable to travel to the United States. What can I do?
People whose DV2020 visas have expired cannot receive replacement visas. However, under court orders in Gomez v. Trump, people who received VIs in FY2020 as a result of the orders in this case can travel to the United States on this expired diversity immigrant visa. However, these visa holders are encouraged to travel with these expired visas as soon as possible.
I was selected for DV2020, but I was unable to schedule my interview. Can I schedule an interview?
Unfortunately no. DV2020 selected individuals who did not receive a visa by the end of fiscal year 2020 cannot be interviewed, scheduled or re-examined for visas now because, by law, these selected individuals were not eligible for issuance. visa only until the end of fiscal year 2020, which ended on September 30, 2020. You can participate to be selected for a future DV program.
I was refused a DV because of the PP10014. Can I reapply for a visa under the DV2020 program?
Unfortunately no. DV2020 selected individuals who did not receive a visa by the end of fiscal year 2020 cannot be interviewed, scheduled or re-examined for visas now, as by law these selected individuals were not eligible for issuance of visa. ‘visa only until the end of fiscal year 2020, which ended in September. 30, 2020. You may participate to be selected for a future DV program.
I have been selected for DV2021. Can I schedule my interview?
Candidates for the DV for the 2021 financial year will be invited for an interview depending on the capacity of the position and the resources available. Applicants should wait for an appointment notification for the interview, as embassies and consulates are able to adapt this scheduling based on our current phased resumption of visa services.
Will DV2021 candidates be scheduled for an interview before the end of fiscal 2021? Will they be prioritized as the deadline approaches?
DV2021 applicants can only be interviewed in FY 2021. Applicants should wait for an appointment notification for the interview. U.S. Embassies and Consulates will schedule appointments as resources and local conditions permit based on the resumption of the visa service framework.
When can I schedule my employment-based immigrant visa interview? Is my application prioritized?
While positions that process immigrant visa applications will prioritize family members of immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, including international adoptions, fiancÃ©s of U.S. citizens, and certain special immigrant visa applications, we recognize the importance of employment-based immigrants. All immigrant visa applicants who have not yet been interviewed or scheduled for an interview will have their applications processed in accordance with our current visa services phased resumption framework.