The U.S. State Department is adding foreign service officers to help reduce visa backlogs around the world but anticipates delays will continue in the months ahead, according to information recently posted to the State Department website.
The COVID-19 pandemic has limited the number of visas the State Department can process and the services that are available at embassies and consulates. According to recent data, more than 439,000 eligible immigrant visa applicants still need to have interviews scheduled after January 2022 appointments were filled.
In a Q&A with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs said it was taking steps to address the problem. The Bureau said:
Additional Information: In the Q&A, the Bureau also answered questions from AILA on the U.S.’s vaccine and testing requirements for international travel, the Visa Bulletin and immigration issues related to the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, among other topics. The full Q&A is available here.
BAL Analysis: While the State Department is working to address visa backlogs, many embassies and consulates continue to operate at a reduced capacity because of COVID-19. Continued visa processing delays should be expected. BAL will continue to monitor efforts to address processing delays and will provide more information as it becomes available. Employers and employees should continue to consult their BAL professional before planning international travel.
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