The impact of COVID on immigrant visa prioritisation

Frank Parker
Authored by Frank Parker
Posted Sunday, January 2, 2022 - 11:25am

The COVID-19 pandemic has sharply affected the world’s immigration process, causing a lot of hindrances like travel bans, lockdowns, quarantines, restrictions, local conditions, and longer waiting times on processing papers and other necessary information. There is also the presence of anxiety and fear as this virus can and could be anywhere. This outbreak has caused the Department of State’s capacity to immediately process and work on immigrant visa applications. Longer delays and a stricter approach have been taken into account when it comes to processing immigrant visa applications. 

The U.S. embassies and consulates have been trying to work on speeding up the resume routine visa services as safely as possible. Despite these efforts by the U.S. embassy, the covid pandemic continues to trouble and affect the embassies and consulates process on immigrant visa applications, thus lowering their efficiency and making immigration a stressful and tough process. The safety measures taken to contain the spread of covid vary from local and international safety conditions, including restrictions and quarantine regulations. 

Impact Of COVID-19 On Visa Prioritization 

Thanks to the covid pandemic, operations of the U.S embassy have taken a blow in terms of their speed and efficiency, increasing their backlog of workload that was caused by the safety measures to counter the covid outbreak. Lockdowns, travel bans, and all other restrictions caused a major setback in terms of visa processing. Embassies are now prioritizing visa services and are aiming to fasten the process, to lessen the backlog of visa applications that were caused by the covid outbreak. 

The U.S. embassy is highlighting U.S. citizens that are looking for aid overseas, people looking for immigration benefits, and everyone alike as their top priority when it comes to visa prioritization. Embassies are providing post-immigrant visa services that are processing immigrant and non-immigrant priority visa applications. Despite this, because of the restrictions imposed by the government because of the covid pandemic, movement on these applications is restricted and takes a lot of time to accomplish. The U.S. government and other countries that are concerned with these immigrant visa applications are taking caution and have placed various safety measures that confine and restrict the process it takes to attend and handle these applications. 

Because of the backlog caused by the covid pandemic, there is a significantly high number of pending immigrant visa applications. The security regulations placed by the U.S. government limit the number of visa applications that are getting handled per day.

The Approach Used By Ambassadors And Agents

Ambassadors and agents use a step-by-step approach to reduce the backlog caused by the covid pandemic. The State Department has made a four-categories that identifies the main individuals that ambassadors and agents are aiming to handle. 

Category One: Acquisition visas between neighboring countries, expired cases (in cases where the applicant is no longer eligible because of their age), special immigration visas, and emergencies as indicated.

Category Two: Urgently Related Visas; fiancé visa (e); and returning citizen visa

Category Three: Major Family Immigration Visas and S.E. Special Immigrant Visas for Immigrant Visa Prioritization

Category Four: All other immigration visas, including employment preference and diversity visas

Working Through Case Backlogs

Immigrant visas of all categories have a significant backlog at many embassies and consulates. Embassies are working with immigration lawyers to resolve the cases as soon as possible. This priority scheme suggests that embassies expand their limited resources to target as many relatives and fiancé visa cases as possible to prevent and hopefully reduce a backlog in these categories. However, the priority program is reviewed against planning and deciding on specific cases.

It should be noted that these visa applications may still face delays despite them being top priorities because of the restrictions and safety protocols involving the embassy and the concerned countries. With ambassadors and agents using this four-category approach, the visa applications are now being processed in a more maximized and orderly system that aims to accomplish more visa cases as soon as possible. 

The strategies and four-category prioritization taken by the ambassadors and agents are monitored and reviewed extensively to bring up flaws and further suggestions that could speed up the visa process despite the restrictions and delays caused by the pandemic. If you need help fixing your immigration visa application, we suggest hiring an immigration lawyer like Total Law. They are a law firm that specializes in international immigration laws across the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland. With an immigration lawyer, you can trust that any issue in your visa application will be resolved.


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