Just when we all were getting used to the delays caused by President Trump’s executive orders. He had instructed USCIS to more vigorously vet all cases with an objective to to restrict legal immigration. Just when we finally came to grips with the changes at USCIS that doubled or tripled the length of application forms, and caused most processing times to double.
Now the policy of extreme vetting, and immigration restrictionism has come to the US State Department’s consulate level.
Now either before a consulate interview or worst at the end of a consulate interview (just when you are waiting to hear “visa approved, welcome to USA” now many applicants are handed additional questionnaires asking about their social media, internet and telephone accounts.
These questionnaires often come with a note, saying that perhaps your case may require administrative processing.
We already know that whenever the consulate is working on your case, thinking about whether to approve or deny, it is called Administrative processing. So it’s no surprise to be told what the name is, for what is happening to your case.
What is a shocking surprise is that the text goes further to to include a forecast of how long it might take before Administrative Processing might be complete, instructions from Morocco and Tunisia warn the applicant it may be a further 4 to 6 months before their consulate MAY make a final decision. The consulate in Turkey’s instructions forecast an extra 2 to 4 months. And of course these are not case specific estimates, just basically a warning to tell the applicant to not bother chasing the consulate for results, until far into the future.
This is bad news, cause instead of Administrative Processing being a rare event that an applicant might get caught up in, it looks like the State Department is planning to make it a standard feature of most cases.
Here are samples of the text that your fiance or spouse might recieve
Please provide your unique user name for any websites or applications you have used to create or share content (photos, videos, status updates, etc.) as part of a public profile within the last five years.
Provide all email addresses ever used, and state during which years
Provide all telephone numbers ever used, and state during which years
If your fiancee or spouse is unfortunate enough to be asked for these additional details, expect a long delay until a visa is issued and you are finally reunited with your loved one.
What can be done?
1. Well as always, follow my guidance to make your original front loaded application tell your story of a sincere, bona fide couple, who’s only possible agenda is a happy married life in the USA. By making a VisaCoach level presentation you hopefully may “dodge a bullet”, especially while the extra vetting is still at the discretion of the reviewing officer.
Then Prepare for the worst.
2. Ask your fiancee or spouse to start thinking early about his or her social media exposure and make accurate lists of user names, emails and telephone numbers used. So in case required it won’t take long submit the information to the consulate and kick start their review. “First In” will probably be “First Out”
3. Resist temptation to book flights, chapels, honeymoon cruises, and so on until that wonderful day when your fiancee or spouse calls excitedly telling you that his or her passport has just been returned, and a shiny new visa to the you New Life togethe in the USA is inside.
By Fred Wahl