A New Temporary Final Rule Provides Flexibility To Waive the Personal Appearance of Certain Repeat Immigrant Visa Applicants Due to Pandemic

The New Temporary Final Rule (TFR) of the Department of State

As of December 13 2021, and for 24 months, consular officers are authorized to waive the requirement that certain repeat immigrant visa applicants appear in person and be interviewed by a consular officer.

Who does this TFR apply to?

This rule applies to immigrant visa applicants who were issued a U.S. immigrant visa on or after August 4, 2019 and who meet the following criteria:

  1. They must qualify for and be seeking an immigrant visa in the same classification (unless an automatic conversion has happened due to the death or naturalization of the petitioner on the previously issued immigrant visa) and pursuant to the same approved petition as their previously approved visa application, and they must continue to qualify for the immigrant visa sought.
  2. They must be willing to affirm under penalty of perjury to the information provided on the Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application, Form DS-260 (or Form DS-230, if authorized).
  3. They have not undergone a change in circumstances that could affect their eligibility for the visa.

However, applicants must keep in mind that communication via telephone or email may be required from them in order to provide additional information that the consular officer may deem necessary. They should also anticipate that in some cases, they might be required to appear in person, after all.

What happens if an applicant needs to change an answer on their form?

In case an applicant wants to change any of their answers on Form DS-260, the form can be reopened for them to make the changes and to re-sign it under penalty of perjury.

How long will this TFR be in place?

This TFR will expire on December 13, 2023. Since its main purpose is to solve the problem of applicants who can’t travel due to the COVID-19 restrictions, it won’t be necessary anymore once the pandemic becomes less acute and we go back to ordinary travel.

Important note: This TFR makes no changes to form or fee requirements.

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