Reduction of waiting time for scheduling, a dispensation of interviews and new values for fees are part of government measures.
In another measure to try to streamline its procedures and reduce the waiting list for service at U.S. Embassies and Consulates (which, in the case of Brazil, has already exceeded one year), the U.S. Department of State announced that specific applications for temporary (non-immigrant) visas such as tourism, business, study, exchange or work would no longer require interviews with consular officers in 2023.
In most cases of renewal of tourist and business visas, it was no longer necessary to attend again for an interview, depending on when the previous visa had been issued. However, the interview waiver will also be available to holders of temporary work visas (specialized employees, artists, athletes, executives transferred to the U.S., etc.) and certain holders of study or exchange visas.
But this is not the only novelty announced by the government; The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced on January 12 that from January 30, it will extend the Premium Processing modality to all green card petitions based on career, employment or investments in the U.S., whether for new lawsuits or even for old cases that are still awaiting immigration review.
Premium Processing provides for a petition for immigration benefits to be evaluated within 45 days, much faster than the average waiting time (currently around 10 to 14 months). The premium processing request fee, however, is $2,500.
Despite the positive news, the government also announced that the rates for immigration benefits (visas, green cards, asylum processes, citizenship, etc.) would be adjusted from the beginning of March. Although the new figures have yet to be officially released, it is estimated that the increases range from 10% to 30%, depending on the benefit requested.
According to the USCIS, the increase in fees will bring the U.S. agency back to its pre-pandemic financial level, which will allow, among other things, to reduce the line of pending lawsuits and institute new forms of benefits for specific categories of immigrants.
About the specialist: Marcelo Gondim
Marcelo Gondim is an immigration lawyer in the United States with more than 20 years of experience in green card and U.S. visa processes. He is licensed by the State of California. Marcelo was born in Brazil but also held American citizenship. He is the founder and principal attorney of Gondim Law Corp., an immigration law firm based in Los Angeles.