President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order late Wednesday, scrapping an Obama-era goal of ensuring that 80 percent of nonimmigrant visa applicants are interviewed within three weeks of the receipt of their application.

Key points:

  • The move is an indication that there will be more delays in visa processing under new vetting rules that the Trump administration announced in May. It is likely that the 80 percent goal would have been difficult or impossible for the administration to meet under the new vetting rules, necessitating the Executive Order to eliminate it.
  • The order directed the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to revise the 2012 goal, but did not outline a timeline for when this should be completed. Until a new goal is set, consular officers will be not be subject to any constraints on how quickly they will need to interview visa applicants after receipt of the visa application.
  • The order was issued after the administration said it would begin a 90-day review of vetting procedures under Trump’s March 6 Executive Order on travel to the United States. Portions of that order – including a 90-day entry ban for nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – have been stopped in court, but the review of vetting procedures was allowed to proceed.

BAL Analysis: Wednesday’s Executive Order is another sign that new screening requirements could result in appointment backlogs and increased administrative processing delays for some visa applicants. The administration continues to review current vetting policies and may impose additional screening requirements in the weeks and months ahead.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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