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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawCoronavirus (COVID-19):Can a US Visa Petition Be Filed?

Coronavirus (COVID-19):Can a US Visa Petition Be Filed?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing US Immigration specifically US Visa petitions in the context of the current Coronavirus pandemic or COVID-19 pandemic.  

I have done another video on this regarding how visa issuance has been suspended at least for the foreseeable future from US Embassies and Consulates abroad, but questions have come up from some of our clients and people who watch this channel regarding whether or not it is still possible to file for visa benefits. As of the time of this video, “yes that is the case”. In fact I expect it will be the case for the foreseeable future notwithstanding the fact that this Coronavirus may have an overall impact on Immigration processing either at Department Homeland Security, the Department of State, National Visa Center or US Embassy or Consulates outside of the United States. I do believe that filings can still be perfected while we are dealing with this Coronavirus epidemic.

Why do I think that? Well first of all, the filing process is sort of a remotely done thing. Digitally in some cases; albeit limited. Also the paper filings are all done remotely by correspondent. There was a time here in Bangkok when we had Bangkok USCIS when I would file cases at the local USCIS Office in person. Those days are gone. As of now, the current process, the current protocols require the cases be filed in the United States but it can be done remotely; it can be done by correspondence. So I think the filing process has not been changed. In fact I don't think the adjudication process has really been changed because again these Government Offices can practice a lot more social distancing. These adjudicators that are adjudicating these kinds of cases are not really dealing with the public on a regular basis. So do I think this is going to have an overall impact on the actual processing of the petitions? No, I don't even think it is going to have an impact on the processing of visa applications but for the immediate future yes we are having issues because Visa issuance is suspended because Visa interviews have been suspended by to my knowledge all of the Immigrant, Non-immigrant Visa posts throughout the world.  Non-immigrant Visa and Immigrant Visa units at US Embassies and US Consulates overseas, that has been suspended for now. I think in the relatively near future we are going to see that suspension lifted and we are going to see these cases processing again. When that happens I believe that yes there is going to be an immediate backlog. In my experience, notwithstanding the sort of cliché that sometimes goes around that government is inefficient",  it has been my experience that in the aftermath of these kinds of things I have seen it in the context of government shutdowns, I seen in the specific context of the US Embassy here in Thailand when they had to move facilities due to various activities that were going on here in Thailand which resulted in a backlog, they did make their best efforts to keep things moving after the suspension of activity had lifted, be it a Government shutdown or whatever. They did make their best efforts to keep things moving along. 

Now again there is going to be a delay from this. It is inevitable but I do not think that this is world ending and I do not think we are going to cease seeing visas issued. No I simply think it is what the description implies. It is a suspension of visa issuance and that does not have anything to do with one's ability to apply for a Visa to the United States.