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US Visas and Immigration: What is the Foreign Affairs Manual?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the Foreign Affairs Manual and specifically this comes up in the topic of US Immigration

Clients in our office sometimes ask me "what are you talking about, this Foreign Affairs Manual?" because I will tell them well "under the FAM, you have got to do XYZ under this certain fact pattern for example. In a sense the Foreign Affairs Manual is sort of the handbook under which Consular Officer, specifically interviewing and adjudicating Consular Officers in United States Embassies and Consulates outside the United States need to adjudicate; it is a manual for adjudicating their cases if you will.  It is regulatory in one sense, it is administrative in one sense and it is based on relevant US Law but it does change from time to time. New laws come into effect, new regulations come into effect.

Here recently for example we are seeing new regulations coming into effect with respect to the Public Charge Rule in the United States associated with the Trump Administration. As a result of this, we are seeing changes to the FAM associated with that. In a general since we see the FAM change rather frequently. Some years ago I remember I had processed a Child Citizenship Act case, and for those who are unaware of what that is you can go ahead and go to the search function of our channel and just search Child Citizenship Act and you will find that information, but I was doing a Child Citizenship Act case. There was a specific way that it needed to be processed and there was a specific way it was adjudicated under the FAM rules. About six or eight months after I processed that case, some of the rules had changed; somebody just brought it to my attention just kind of incidentally. This is just an anecdotal piece of information but the thing to take away from it, is this FAM, I won't say it is in a constant state of flux but it does change from time to time as circumstances change as policy changes occur and also as rules change, as Executive Orders come down etc.

So the FAM is important. It should not be confused with Field Officers Manual at USCIS. That is a different type of document. It pertains to Immigration officers in the United States under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security. The FAM pertains again to Consular Offices operating under the auspices of Department of State at US Embassies and US Consulates abroad.