Need Help Obtaining Immigrant Visas?
The process involved with applying for and securing an immigrant visa for the U.S. while living in another country has always been daunting, requiring substantial documentation, long waiting times, and a consular interview before an eligible applicant can receive a visa to travel to the U.S. and secure his or her green card. Since the start of the pandemic, the process has become even more difficult.
Since people who are issued visas must travel to the U.S. within six months of receiving them, it has resulted in many people’s visas expiring before they were able to travel to the U.S. The backlog in the issuance of visas has been compounded by pandemic-related travel restrictions. Because of the issues, the U.S. Department of State has agreed to temporarily waive the requirement for people applying for immigrant visas to sit for consular interviews. Here is some information about the change from a Miami immigration lawyer at Pozo Goldstein.
Backlog in Issuing Immigrant Visas
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a significant backlog in the issuance of visas at U.S. embassies and consulates in countries around the world. Many people who have been approved for immigrant visas have been unable to travel to the U.S. because of the backlog and the requirement to attend a consular interview. Because of this problem, the U.S. Department of State recently announced that it will waive the requirement to attend a consular interview prior to receiving an immigrant visa for almost 50,000 people who have applied for them. The temporary rule was published in the Federal Register.
Under this rule, a waiver for eligible applicants will remain in effect until Dec. 13, 2023. The purpose of the temporary waiver is to help applicants who have not been able to travel to the U.S. because of the pandemic-related travel restrictions and who also are required to meet specific deadlines for travel.
Once people are issued immigrant visas, they must travel to the U.S. and apply for admission within a maximum of six months. Once people are admitted by an official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security upon reaching the U.S., the visa holders then become U.S. lawful permanent residents and receive their green cards, allowing them to live in the U.S. and work. However, under former President Trump, several proclamations were issued by the federal government because of the COVID-19 pandemic that prevented non-citizens from entering the U.S.
During that period, the State Department also temporarily suspended regular visa services at U.S. consulates and embassies, adding to the backlog. Because of current safety guidelines, the resumption of consular visa services has been slow, leading to more delays. The new rule will help by allowing certain eligible applicants to avoid the consular interviews while sending additional resources to areas where the State Department believes it is more important for visa applicants to be personally interviewed.
Who Is Eligible for the Interview Waiver?
Under the temporary rule, applicants for immigrant visas who meet all of the following criteria will not have to appear for an in-person consular interview and oath:
- Applicants whose visas were issued from Aug. 4, 2019, to the present
- Applicants who did not travel to the U.S. with their visas
- Applicants who remain qualified for the immigrant visas in the same class as their expired visas or in certain categories of automatic conversions
- Applicants have not had any changes in circumstances that could make them ineligible for the immigrant visas
According to the State Department, an estimated 49,000 people were issued visas from Aug. 4, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2021, but have not traveled to the U.S. to gain admission. In more than 11,000 cases, the applicants’ visas expired before they could travel to the U.S. and seek admission.
Talk to an Experienced Miami Immigration Lawyer
At Pozo Goldstein, our experienced Miami immigration lawyers have helped thousands of people achieve their immigration goals. We have a thorough understanding of immigration laws. Our team is comprised of two former immigration prosecutors and a former judge. If your loved one is trying to get an immigrant visa, or you have another immigration issue, you should speak with Pozo Goldstein today by calling us at (305) 856-0400.