The COVID-19 pandemic continues to severely affect the ability of embassies and consulates around the world to be able to resume routine visa services. The particular constraints vary based on local conditions and restrictions, but include local and national lockdowns; travel restrictions; host country quarantine regulations; and measures taken by U.S. embassies and consulates to contain the spread of COVID-19. Combined, these restrictions have reduced appointment capacity during the pandemic, which has created a significant backlog of both immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants awaiting a visa interview. The State Department is working to reduce this backlog while ensuring the safety of their staff and applicants and protecting our national security. DOS announced U.S. embassies and consulates are using a tied approach to triage immigrant visa applications and to address the backlog in the processing of immigrant visas. DOS identified four priority tiers listing the main categories of immigrant visas in each:
- Tier One: Immediate relative intercountry adoption visas, age-out cases (cases where the applicant will soon no longer qualify due to their age), and certain Special Immigrant Visas (SQ and SI for Afghan and Iraqi nationals working with the U.S. government)
- Tier Two: Immediate relative visas; fiancé(e) visas; and returning resident visas
- Tier Three: Family preference immigrant visas and SE Special Immigrant Visas for certain employees of the U.S. government abroad
- Tier Four: All other immigrant visas, including employment preference and diversity visas
Per DOS, “consular sections, where possible, are scheduling some appointments within all four priority tiers every month.”
Applicants should check the website of the nearest embassy or consulate for the current operating status.
- Information about nonimmigrant visa wait times are available on the visa wait time tool at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html.
Source: Department of State
Neil Dornbaum, Co-chair of Connell Foley's Corporate Immigration and Global Mobility practice, is recognized as one of the most active and distinguished immigration attorneys in New Jersey. Prior to joining the firm, Neil was a ...
Kathleen M. Peregoy is a highly accomplished immigration attorney and serves as Co-chair of Connell Foley's Corporate Immigration and Global Mobility practice. Prior to joining the firm, Kathleen was a partner at Dornbaum & ...