DOS Update on U.S. Visa Services at Embassies and U.S. Consular Posts29 Aug 2022
On August 10, 2022, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) shared a briefing where Ms. Julie M. Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, discussed the status of immigrant and nonimmigrant visa processing at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. An overview of these updates is provided here for the benefit of MurthyDotCom readers.
Rate of Nonimmigrant & Immigrant Visa Processing
This year, U.S. consular posts overseas have adjudicated approximately 70 percent more nonimmigrant visas than last year. This amounts to roughly 800,000 nonimmigrant visa applications at posts overseas. According to Ms. Stufft, this figure is around 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels, and is growing steadily.
With reference to immigrant visa processing, Ms. Stufft stated that pre-pandemic backlogs have decreased by 25 percent and adjudications for immigrant visas are at about 95 percent overseas.
Increased Staff Hiring at Consular Posts
Ms. Stufft explained that the DOS is actively engaged in increasing the number of consular officers adjudicating visas at consular posts across the globe. The DOS has doubled consular officer hiring in 2022 compared to last year and has a growing team of experienced adjudicators who are supporting high demand posts by remotely adjudicating visa cases. One advantage of having a higher number of consular officers adjudicating cases remotely is that it allows the U.S. consular officers more time to interview visa applicants who are required to come in for in-person interviews.
Applying as a Third Country National
On the possibility of applying as a third country national (TCN), Ms. Stufft pointed out that the State Department is viewing visa workload globally. Accordingly, most U.S. embassies and consulates are allowing TCN visa applicants if appointments are available.
U.S. consular posts continue to work towards achieving pre-pandemic levels of visa processing. Given the lengthy appointment wait times at many U.S. consular posts, more needs to be done to help address the long wait times for visa appointments. It helps the U.S. to bring in global talent and it helps families who deal with the stress of long separation caused by delayed visa appointments and potentially further delays with visa issuance.
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