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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawTrump Executive Order May Result in Slower Visa Application Processing

Trump Executive Order May Result in Slower Visa Application Processing

Transcript of the above video:

Today, we're talking about a recent executive order that hasn't really garnered as much news that's come down from the Trump administration. It hasn't been a quite prospect headline the same way that certain other things have come across the headlines when it comes to the Trump especially with the topic immigration.

This executive order is, in a way, a little bit more solo to a certain extent but it should be noted and as I've stated since Trump became President I've always felt that many of these policies that Trump has had may have looked limited to specific routes or specific geographic areas but would have wider and further reach and consequences than simply that. Most notable are things like the now it seems to me fairly broadly applied scrutiny of various groups by specific consular officers at specific posts for more “extreme vetting" is at work. That appears possible in the longer run, in the bigger picture to be a more broadly implemented aspect of visa processing.

But notably in this video, we're talking about a very recent executive order. This executive order came down June 21, 2017 - Presidential Executive Order amending Executive Order 13597. I'm going to read the relevant section and we're going to get kind of a little deep into this. I'm quoting from White House.gov here. Section 1 Amendment to Executive Order 13597 - Executive Order 13597 January 19, 2012 Establishing visa and foreign processing goals and the Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness is amended by the leading sub-section B-2 of Section 2 of that order.

So that's Trump has done. President Trump has made an executive order to amend a prior executive order and delete specific language. This is one of those situations where we're going to sort of now look back at what was there and what is now gone. So specifically executive order establishing visa and foreign processing goals and the Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness January 19th, 2012. This was obviously under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama. Section 2 B-2 specifically and I quote "It showed that 80 percent of non-immigrant visa applicants or interview within three weeks of receipt of applications recognizing the resources and security considerations and the need to ensure provision of consular services to U.S. citizens may dictate specific exceptions.

So what is this saying? What are the practical implications of all of these? President Trump has gone ahead and made an executive order deleting that specific sub-section so now, basically there's no longer any top down policy impetus to go ahead and ensure that 80 percent of non-immigrant visa applicants are interviewed within three weeks of the time the application is filed. So this was never a requirement but these types of policies tend to be implemented with a great deal of zeal by officers at various U.S. embassies and U.S. consulates abroad. So although it was never part and fast of rule, it's very clear that it was a priority of the previous administration to go ahead and get these visa applications processed. Trump has cancelled that order, deleted it. It is no longer considered a policy priority to go ahead and process visa applications quickly.

As noted on the blog, on the Integrity Legal site, the main website Integrity-Legal.com as opposed to Legal.co.th, I went into a little bit further detail which I'll go into here. Most notably, this is an interesting amendment because it's very difficult to sort of implement a negative. So clearly I think that the policy of the Trump administration is "we don't want to process perhaps as many visa applications or we don't want to process them with the same degree of alacrity that they've been processed in the past.

How is this going to affect things day to day as far as visa processing goes? In the immediate future, I don't think it will affect things greatly. I think that visa applicants will have their visas, not visa applicants specifically, this only pertains to non-immigrant visa applicants. They're going to see their visas processed in pretty much the same manner as they were processed before most notably because the sort of infrastructural improvements that were necessary to increase the speed in order to try to align with the previous administration's previous order, that infrastructure still exists presumably and there hasn't been very much that's gone ahead and change that in this executive in and of itself. So in the shorter term, I don't think there's going to be a great deal of change. Now longer term as this policy sort of sets in and as for lack of better term, sort of bureaucratic entropy or inertia sort of starts to set in, yes I think in two to three years down the line, if this policy isn't turned around I think it's very possible you could see longer processing times for what have been relatively shortly processed visa applications to this point.

So in the immediate future, I don't think this is something to be greatly concerned about but know that down the line, it's very likely that visa processing at least in the non-immigrant section, it's going to get slower. Sort of postscript on to this, we're not talking U.S. immigrant visas so like U.S. marriage visas such as the CR-1 or the IR-1, the U.S. fiancée visa such as the K-1 which technically is non-immigrant visa but as we explained in our video about dual intent visas, it's treated for all intents and purposes as an immigrant visa, those types of visas presumably are not going to be impacted by this because this executive order specifically speaks to non-immigrant visa cases. But that being said, J-1 visas, B-1/B-2 visas, F-1 visas for students to the United States, yes they specifically speak to those categories as those are non-immigrant visa cases and as I said previously, I don't think it's something to be concerned about in the coming months but out past that perhaps in the next 24 months, I think it's very possible that this change in policy could have a significant impact on how visa applications are processed abroad.