On April 13, 2021, the Department of State released frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the immigrant visa backlog and consular processing. The FAQ notes that the immigrant visa interview backlog has developed “because of limitations in staffing and other COVID-related operational constraints preventing us from processing the same volume of applicants as pre-pandemic.” In addition, the FAQ cites previous presidential proclamations that “restricted visa processing for many immigrants for nearly a year.” The Department said it would take time to process the cases affected by these travel restrictions.

The Department said it is committed to decreasing the backlog by “prioritizing certain visas, creating efficiencies in the visa process, and utilizing all available resources until our task is accomplished.” Applicants should check the website of their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for updates on currently available visa services, the FAQ states. Virtual interviews are not available because current regulations “require all immigrant visa applicants to appear in person before a consular officer,” the FAQ states.

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