Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘US Mission’

29th April 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the discretionary powers accorded to Consular Officers at United States Missions abroad with regard to visa issuance are to be expanded to provide further latitude to Consular Officers with regard to the revocation of US visas. To quote directly from Justia.com:

This rule changes Department regulations to broaden the authority of a consular officer to revoke a visa at any time subsequent to issuance of the visa, in his or her discretion. These changes to the Department’s revocation regulations expand consular officer visa revocation authority to the full extent allowed by statute. Additionally, this rule change allows consular officers and designated officials within the Department to revoke a visa provisionally while considering a final visa revocation.

Clearly, this rule would expand the authority currently granted to Consular Officers in adjudicating American visa matters. For those who are unfamiliar with this topic it should be noted that Consular Officers currently maintain virtually un-reviewable discretion in matters pertaining to US visa application adjudication. This discretion occurs pursuant to a doctrine referred to as Consular Non-Reviewability (or colloquially referred to as Consular Absolutism). Pursuant to the philosophy underlying this doctrine Courts in the United States are unlikely to review the decisions of a Consular Officer at a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad unless the Consular Officer’s decision in the matter appears “facially illegitimate” to the Court of competent jurisdiction.

Bearing this in mind the announcement went on to point out the reasoning behind the recent decision to make this rule change:

On occasion, after a visa has been issued, the Department or a consular officer may determine that a visa should be revoked when information reveals that the applicant was originally or has since become ineligible or may be ineligible to possess a U.S. visa. Section 221(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1201(i)) (INA) authorizes the Secretary and consular officers to revoke a visa in their discretion. Current regulations limit the circumstances in which consular officers may revoke visas. In light of security concerns, this amendment grants additional authority to consular officers to revoke visas, consistent with the statutory provisions of the INA. Although this rule eliminates the provisions that permit reconsideration of a revocation, it also allows for the provisional revocation of a visa when there is a need for further consideration of information that might lead to a final revocation. In cases where the person subject to a provisional revocation is found to be eligible for the visa, the visa will be reinstated with no need for reapplication. However, with the exception of provisional revocations, an applicant whose visa has been revoked must apply for another visa, at which time his or her eligibility for the visa will be adjudicated.

In this blogger’s opinion, this rule change could have significant ramifications for prospective visa applicants. That stated, it remains to be seen what the practical implications of this rule change will be. The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click on the above hyperlinks to learn more about this topic on Justia.com.

It should be noted that within the text of this memo it was pointed out that this rule is being promulgated pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act. To quote one final time from the aforementioned document:

This regulation involves a foreign affairs function of the United States and, therefore, in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553 (a) (1), is not subject to the rule making procedures set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553.

Those who have read this blog in the past may recall that the United States Department of State maintains a mandate to conduct the foreign affairs of the United States and one of the duties that is entailed within this mandate is the duty to adjudicate applications for a US visa. This can include applications for visas such as the B-2 visa (for those wishing to engage in recreational travel in the United States), the K-1 visa (a US fiance visa for the foreign fiance of a US Citizen), the CR-1 visa or IR-1 visa (for the spouse of an American Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident), or, in increasingly rare instances, a K-3 visa (which is a non-immigrant spouse visa for the husband or wife of an American Citizen). It is even posited that this new discretion could have an effect upon adjudication of L-1 visa and EB-5 visa applications, as well as the possible aftermath thereof. In any case, increased Consular discretion is likely to have an impact upon visa applications across the categorical spectrum of American travel documents.

For related information please see: K-1 Visa Thailand or K-1 Visa Cambodia.

For information related to waivers of grounds of inadmissibility (ineligibility) please see: I-601 waiver or I-212 waiver.

more Comments: 04

26th November 2010

Recently, this blogger was reading a report from the Department of State regarding the statistics pertaining to the United States Visa Process. To quote the report directly:

Immigrant visa issuances during fiscal year 2011 are limited by the terms of INA 201 to no more than 226,000 in the family-sponsored preferences and 140,000 in the employment-based preferences. (Visas for “Immediate Relatives” – i.e., spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21 years, and parents – of U.S. citizens are not subject to numerical limitation, however.) It should by no means be assumed that once an applicant is registered, the case is then continually included in the waiting list totals unless and until a visa is issued. The consular procedures mandate a regular culling of visa cases to remove from the count those unlikely to see further action, so that totals are not unreasonably inflated. If, for example, a consular post receives no response within one year from an applicant to whom the visa application instruction letter (i.e., the consular “Packet 3″ letter) is sent when the movement of the visa availability cutoff date indicates a visa may become available within a reasonable time frame, the case is considered “inactive” under the consular procedures and is no longer included in waiting list totals.

It has be routinely noted on this blog and elsewhere online that the American visa process is somewhat restrictive when it comes to non-immediate relative petitions as there are limited numbers of visas available to the immediate family of American lawful permanent residents and the non-immediate relatives of American Citizens. That said, this was not the portion of the above citation that this author felt was noteworthy. Instead, a central issue for this blogger is that of “culling visa cases”. For those who do not have a great deal of experience dealing with US Immigration matters it may seem rather heavy handed to simply cancel a visa file. However, it should be pointed out that a US Embassy or US Consulate abroad is responsible for reviewing, adjudicating, and processing a large number of visa applications each year. Therefore, in the name of organization and efficiency it is often necessary for cases to be removed from the processing queue lest the whole system become overloaded and inefficient.

Those wishing to obtain a visa to the USA should be cognizant of the fact that failure to follow up with the US Mission with Consular jurisdiction could result in the canceling of one’s visa application thereby resulting in an end to the entire proceeding. This is also true for those who receive a 221g denial as failure to respond within one year of the denial’s issuance could result in the culling of the case file.

Some find that the assistance of an American Immigration attorney can be highly beneficial as such an individual can provide insight into and assistance with the United States visa process. Furthermore, American attorneys working overseas can provide real time assistance with Consular processing at American Missions abroad.

For related information please see: Consular Processing.

more Comments: 04

4th September 2010

Regular readers will no doubt note that the administration of this blog frequently posts the holiday closing schedule information for some of the United States Embassies and Consulates abroad. This is done in an effort to forestall possibly fruitless trips to a United States Mission abroad due to ignorance of local or American Holiday closure. To quote directly from the official website of the United States Embassy in Australia:

Public holidays observed by the U.S. Mission to Australia
Date Holiday Observed Closures
Friday, January 1, 2010 New Year’s Day All posts closed
Monday, January 18, 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr’s Birthday All posts closed
Tuesday, January 26, 2010 Australia Day All posts closed
Monday, February 15, 2010 Presidents’ Day All posts closed
Monday, March 1, 2010 Labour Day Perth closed
Monday, March 8, 2010 Labour Day Melbourne closed
Monday, March 8, 2010 Canberra Day Canberra closed
Friday, April 2, 2010 Good Friday All posts closed
Monday, April 5, 2010 Easter Monday All posts closed
Monday, April 16, 2010 Anzac Day All posts closed
Monday, May 31, 2010 Memorial Day All posts closed
Monday, June 7, 2010 Foundation Day Perth closed
Monday, June 14, 2010 Queen’s Birthday Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney closed
Monday, July 5, 2010 Independence Day All posts closed
Monday, September 6, 2010 Labor Day All posts closed
Monday, September 27, 2010 Family and Community Day Canberra closed
Monday, September 27, 2010 Queen’s Birthday Perth closed
Monday, October 4, 2010 Labour Day Canberra and Sydney closed
Monday, October 11, 2010 Columbus Day All posts closed
Tuesday, November 2, 2010 Melbourne Cup Day Melbourne closed
Thursday, November 11, 2010 Veterans Day All posts closed
Thursday, November 25, 2010 Thanksgiving Day All posts closed
Friday, December 24, 2010 Christmas Day (U.S.) All posts closed
Monday, December 27, 2010 Christmas Day (Aus.) All posts closed
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 Boxing Day All posts closed
Friday, December 31, 2010 New Year’s Day (U.S.) All posts closed
Monday, January 3, 2011 New Year’s Day (Aus.) All posts closed

This author can state from personal experience that traveling to a US Embassy on a Post holiday can be frustrating. That said, holidays are clearly posted on many US government websites. Those needing services at an Embassy or Consulate overseas are well advised to check the holiday closing schedule before traveling to the Post. Those needing assistance from the American Citizen Services Section of a US Consulate may be able to make an appointment in advance in order to facilitate smooth processing.

Those seeking a visa appointment may need to check with the Visa Unit at their local post in order to ascertain how appointments are set. For non-immigrant visas the process may be different than the process for those seeking American immigrant visas (for purposes of Consular Processing, the K1 visa is generally considered to be an immigrant visa).

Those interested in related information regarding Consular Processing in Asia please see: US Embassy Vietnam.

more Comments: 04

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