This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.
The Department of State (DOS) announced that U.S. embassies and consulates are using a tiered approach to triage immigrant visa applications based on the category of immigrant visa as they resume and expand processing. Consular sections, where possible, are scheduling some appointments within all four priority tiers every month. The following are the main categories in priority order:
Immediate relative intercountry adoption visas, age-out cases (cases where the applicant will soon no longer qualify due to age), certain Special Immigrant Visas (SQ and SI for Afghan and Iraqi nationals working with the U.S. government), and emergency cases as determined on a case-by-case basis
Immediate relative visas; fiancé(e) visas; and returning resident visas
Family preference immigrant visas and SE Special Immigrant Visas for certain employees of the U.S. government abroad
All other immigrant visas, including employment preference and diversity visas [DOS noted that a U.S. District Court “has enjoined the Department of State from applying this prioritization guidance to DV-2021 selectees and their derivative beneficiaries”].