On June 22, President Trump signed an executive order to strike down Obama-era Executive Order 13597 – Establishing Visa and Foreign Visitor Processing Goals and the Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness. Specifically, Trump has deleted part (b)(ii) of Section 2, which mandated that 80% of nonimmigrant visa applicants are interviewed within 3 weeks of receipt of application (i.e. within 3 weeks of receiving the DS-160). The 3-week processing requirement applied to all visas, including students, tourists, athletes and foreign government officials. The rest of Executive Order 13597 remains unchanged.
Trump’s new executive order is part of his March 6, 2017 directive to the Department of Homeland Security to “enhance the screening and vetting of applications for visas and all other immigration benefits.” It is anticipated that visa processing times will increase, given that consulates no longer have a processing time requirement for nonimmigrant visas and have recently been directed to perform additional vetting of certain types of applicants. We strongly suggest that all our clients check the visa appointment and processing wait times before confirming travel and immediately before leaving the United States to ensure that wait times haven’t increased. Additionally, given the possibility of additional vetting, those applying for visas should recognize that return travel to the U.S. may need to be open to change.
** This newsletter/memo is provided for informational and discussion purposes only. It does not act as a substitute for direct legal contact on an individual basis **