Interesting Immigration Updates from the Department of State

By Andrew M. Wilson

April 26, 2023 | Immigration Blog

The Department of State (DOS) provided some interesting updates in response to questions from AILA's DOS Liaison Committee and in preparation for their liaison meeting with AILA on 4/26/2023. (AILA Doc. No. 23041406)

Three updates that jumped out to me are:

1. Stateside Visa Renewal Pilot Program

The DOS is still working on their stateside visa renewal pilot program. For now, it is described as a "small-scale domestic renewal pilot program" that will eliminate the need for some individuals to depart the U.S. in order to renew their visas through a U.S. Consulate abroad. It is still set to launch later this year and it will be for applicants eligible for interview waivers. The DOS did not divulge any specific dates or visa categories currently under consideration for the launch.

2. Decrease in Cases Selected for 221(g) Administrative Processing

DOS had provided information in late 2022 about the increase in the number of visa cases selected for 212(g) administrative processing, as well as longer delays in clearing those cases. At the time, they hoped that issue would be resolved within a matter of months.

That resolution should be in place now. The DOS just provided new information that nonimmigrant visa vetting was incorporated into the National Vetting Center. This is supposed to enable more efficient visa processing and eliminate the need for as many individuals selected for 221(g) processing. See:

3. Visa Bulletin Updates

The lack of movement, or worse with backward movement, with various EB priority dates jumps out as each Visa Bulletin is released. The most recent update from the DOS does not inspire much hope for near term progress - "Number use between State and USCIS has been robust through the first half of the fiscal year in the employment categories, and retrogressions are possible as the annual numerical limits are approached. It is too early to say what to expect in FY2024." That does not portend well for much positive movement this fiscal year.

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