The Coronavirus pandemic has created new obstacles and challenges for immigrants applying for visas at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide. Since the Department of State first announced the phased resumption of routine visa services on July 14, 2020, applicants were thrown into a state of chaos and confusion.
Global conditions have only moderately improved in some regions, while in others they have worsened. This has caused the majority of U.S. Embassies and Consulates to remain shuttered to the general public. As it stands, very few Consular posts and Embassies have resumed scheduling of visa interviews. In the vast majority of cases, posts are only scheduling interviews and issuing visas for those with emergencies and those who qualify for expedited visa issuance.
Unfortunately, there is no specific date for when each mission will resume routine visa services, nor when there will be a sense of normalcy in the operations of U.S. Consulates and Embassies.
Our office has determined that one of the few ways to break through this state of limbo is to submit an expedite request with the National Visa Center. However not everyone will qualify to submit an expedited visa request.
Why aren’t spousal visas cases moving forward?
In normal circumstances once the spouse of a U.S. Citizen is documentarily qualified by the National Visa Center, the file is forwarded to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate near the foreign spouse and prepared for interview scheduling. The NVC is an important agency because it acts as an intermediary to prepare a case for the eventual interview stage.
Since March of this year, files have not been able to move past the NVC stage and have remained with the agency in a sort of “limbo,” given that the majority of U.S. Consulates and Embassies are not opening visa interview slots for applicants until further notice.
As a result, NVC has accumulated a large number of spousal visa cases that are unable to proceed until more Consular posts begin to open their calendars.
The expedite process
The National Visa Center has opened a direct line of communication with applicants to respond to meritorious expedite requests. Applicants may email the NVC directly at NVCexpedite@state.gov which is part of the NVC’s public inquiry unit, to communicate with an agent that can help process an expedite request on behalf of an applicant. If the agent believes that an applicant qualifies for expedited visa processing, further documentation will be asked of them as proof that he or she qualifies for the expedite request.
Applicants who send meritless inquiries will receive a generic email informing them that their case will not be expedited. We caution applicants and strongly discourage them from sending expedite requests that lack substance and/or merit to prevent the agency from being overloaded.
What types of expedite requests have been successful?
Our office has been successful in filing several expedite requests for spouses of U.S. Citizens. In particular expedite requests have been accepted where an extreme hardship has been demonstrated to the U.S. Citizen spouse. For example, our office was able to receive an expedite request approval where the U.S. Citizen spouse was suffering from severe medical and psychological conditions, for which she was receiving medication and treatment.
Our attorneys focused on the potentially life-threatening circumstances she faced, as well as the aggravation of these conditions without the care and support of her husband.
There are other circumstances in which an expedite request could also prove successful. For instance, we have also been successful in expediting a spousal visa where the U.S. Citizen spouse was an essential worker and had a child with a disability. In this case, our office argued that the foreign spouse needed to reunite with his family to help alleviate the extreme hardships his U.S. Citizen spouse was facing.
Read more about a recent success story here.
What happens after an expedite request is approved?
Once an expedite request has been approved, the NVC coordinates with the U.S. Consulate or Embassy near the applicant to secure an interview appointment for them.
How can I schedule a consultation with you to file an expedite?
If you believe you are eligible for expedited visa processing, please contact our office at 619-819-9204. Our attorneys will carefully evaluate the specific circumstances of your case to determine whether you may qualify for expedited visa processing. Remember you are not alone. There may be options available to you based on your particular circumstances.
- Youtube Video Expedite Request for U.S. Spousal Visa
- DOS Phased Resumption Announcement
- Expedited Spousal Visa Success Story
- Expedited Fiance Visa Success Story
- ImmigrationU Membership
Questions? If you have immigration questions and would like to schedule a consultation, please call 619-819-9204 or text 619-483-4549. Our toll free number is 866-488-1554.
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