Diversity Visa and Immigrant Visa Scheduling:
Many people have written to us recently to ask about the worldwide immigrant visa backlog. You can find more information about how the Department of State is working through the backlog at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/visas-backlog.html. U.S. Embassy Georgetown is working every day on immigrant visas to support the many families waiting for their visa interviews. Our work to reunite American citizens with their overseas family members is a vital part of the State Department’s mission to promote legal immigration while strengthening integration and inclusion for new Americans.
Q: What efforts are being made to process 2021 Diversity Visa applicants?
A: The Department of State is making every effort to process as many Diversity Visa cases as possible before the September 30 deadline, consistent with other priorities, despite the severe operational constraints and backlog resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We have currently been interviewing Diversity Visa applicants at U.S. Embassy Georgetown and issuing qualified applicants their visas. We are opening more appointment times for Diversity Visa applicants. However, as a result of COVID-19, the Department of State has told us that the worldwide number of Diversity Visas issued will likely not approach the statutory ceiling in Fiscal Year 2021.
As the global situation continues to evolve, the Department is continuously seeking ways to efficiently process visa applications around the world, consistent with both guidance from health authorities and with the U.S. travel restrictions currently in place.
Q: Will DV-2021 applicants who are unable to be interviewed by September 30 be considered for DV-2022?
A: DV-2021 selectees may only be interviewed in the 2021 fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2021. These applicants may re-enter the Diversity Visa program if they are from a country whose nationals are eligible for the Diversity Visa program in future years. Selection is random, and being selected previously will not influence future entries.
Q: How likely is it that the DV program will be discontinued?
A: The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program was created by statute. At this time there has been no change to the Diversity Visa statute.
Q: Why are there still immigrant visa interview backlogs?
A: The pandemic has dramatically affected the Department of State’s ability to process immigrant visa applications. U.S. embassies and consulates are working to resume services in a safe manner, but we remain constrained by host country operating restrictions on the number of personnel in office, travel restrictions, quarantine regulations, and social distancing requirements for staff and waiting rooms. In addition to the local restrictions faced by embassies abroad, the pandemic has delayed processing of immigrant visas at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the National Visa Center. You can read more about the actions the Department is taking to reduce the backlog here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/visas-backlog.html.
Q: Are virtual/Zoom interviews available for Immigrant Visa applicants?
A: No. U.S. law requires all immigrant visa applicants to appear in person before a consular officer.
Q: I have been waiting for an immigrant visa appointment for a long time. What should I do?
A: Monitor the progress of your petition by checking online and be sure to update your contact information if your address or email changes. You can check the average processing times for your type of petition here: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/. For example, current processing times listed for U.S. citizen filing for a spouse are 13-17 months processing with USCIS, and then additional processing at the National Visa Center (NVC) for review, payment of fees, and submission of required civil and financial documents. Processing times at NVC can vary based on how many cases are pending and how quickly you submit the required documents. Once NVC completes all required review and determines the case is documentarily qualified, the case will enter the interview preparation and scheduling phase.
You can check your case status with USCIS here: https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do, and with the National Visa Center here: https://ceac.state.gov/CEACStatTracker/Status.aspx.
The National Visa Center schedules the visa interview appointment at the embassy and will notify you by email. Appointments are scheduled in order of priority—from the date that you filed your petition and also from the date you submitted all required documents. We are often asked how to schedule an appointment at the embassy, but in fact it is the National Visa Center who schedules the first-time visa interview appointments. For this reason, we advise regional applicants not to travel to Guyana until you have a confirmed appointment. When applicants request a later date, or notify us they cannot make their appointments, then we request the National Visa Center to send the next case in line. If we receive late notice of cancellation, then we will use that time to fit in a case that needs second interview.
Cases Previously Received from NVC but Not Yet Interviewed: Applicants whose cases were previously sent to Embassy Georgetown but could not be processed due to the now rescinded Presidential Proclamation will receive instructions to self-schedule new appointments online through their registered accounts at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-gy/iv.
Cases Pending at NVC: If your case is still at the National Visa Center (NVC), please DO NOT contact the Embassy for an appointment. You must wait for notification from NVC.
Cases refused under Section 221G for additional documents: Applicants refused under Section 221G for additional documents must upload those documents at https://ceac.state.gov/ceac/ (if previously instructed to do so) and then schedule a follow-up appointment online through their registered account at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-gy/iv, as appointments become available.
Q: How are immigrant visa applications being prioritized?
A: Immigrant visa appointments are being prioritized in accordance with the Department of State’s phased resumption of visa services guidance found here: Visa Services Operating Status Update (state.gov)
Please visit our website at Visas | U.S. Embassy in Guyana (usembassy.gov) for additional information on the services we are currently able to provide while operating under pandemic guidelines.
Q: When can I schedule my K fiancé visa interview appointment?
A: K visa applicants will continue to have their applications prioritized in accordance with the prioritization guidance found here:Visa Services Operating Status Update (state.gov)
The Embassy will send visa application instructions after your petition is received from NVC. If you have already submitted all of the required documents, please monitor your email for appointment and scheduling instructions.
For more information on immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, visit https://gy.usembassy.gov/visas/. Additionally, you can call 1-877-246-6788 (local) or 703-988-5765 (U.S.) from Monday to Friday – 7:00AM to 7:00PM.
“Ask the Consul” is a monthly column from the U.S. Embassy answering questions about U.S. immigration law and visa issues. Detailed information about visas and travel can be viewed at https://gy.usembassy.gov/, https://ais.usvisa-info.com/ and https://travel.state.gov/. Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare their own documents and avoid third-party advice. U.S. Consular rules change frequently, and non-US government advisors often provide inadequate or inaccurate information. Please contact our Visa Information Service Center on toll free numbers: 1-877-246-6788 or 703-988-5765 if you have general visa questions.