Earlier this week, the Department of State posted a series of updates on their Facebook page, answering frequently asked questions. The department is experiencing a backlog in interviews due in part to COVID restrictions on consular operations and travel. The FAQs noted that there are no Zoom or virtual interviews allowed for immigrant visa applicants, all interviews must be done in person. Immediate Relative family members of U.S. citizens, fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens, and certain Special Immigrant Visa applicants are currently being prioritized for interviews, followed by employment-based immigrants and other applicants.
Regarding regional COVID-19 restrictions, the department explained that Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992 and 10143 are still in effect, suspending entry for foreign nationals who have been physically present in China, Iran, Schengen Area, UK, Ireland, Brazil and South Africa in the previous 14 days. However, as of April 8, 2021, immigrant visa applicants and K fiancé nonimmigrant visa applicants are exceptions and may enter the country.
The department also clarified questions regarding Diversity Visas. Anyone issued a Diversity Visa prior to September 30, 2020 but not able to travel to the U.S. or schedule an interview, will not be able to be interviewed at this time and must enter a future Diversity Visa program. Applicants selected for the 2021 program will be scheduled for an interview as soon as the local embassy or consulate is available. The only exceptions to this rule are applicants who received their visa pursuant to a federal lawsuit in the case of Gomez v. Trump. Those applicants may still be able to enter the country on their expired diversity immigrant visa.
For the full list of FAQs, please click here. Contact an attorney at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. if you have questions about your interview or how these updates may affect your case.