Back to Top skip to main content
GandS U.S. Immigration Logo
Mar 2, 2018

FAM Changes Made to Consular Officer Limitation of Non-Immigrant Visas

Jonathan A. Grode

Recently announced changes to the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) have altered the way U.S. Consular Officers’ issue validity periods for non-immigrant visas. Essentially, Consular Officers now have the ability to issue visas for a shorter duration than what might appear on a USCIS approval notice or what is “standard” for a given visa classification.  

Under 9 FAM 403.9-4(B) (U) “Validity of Nonimmigrant Visas,” new language has been added which afford Consular Officers the discretion “to issue a nonimmigrant visa valid for a period, or provide a number of applications for admission (“entries”), less than that prescribed on the basis of reciprocity, if warranted in an individual case.” The new guidance elaborates that, “The fact that an application is made away from the alien’s normal place of residence is not, by itself, reason to limit visa validity below the standard set by reciprocity.”

While the new language above may seem on its face to be a clarification of existing processes, in practice it may result in inconsistent review from one consular officer to the next, or one consulate to the next. For example, if a consular officer feels that a visitor visa applicant will not continue to maintain non-immigrant intent, a visa that could be valid for up to 10 years under the reciprocity table, can now be issued for a far shorter period – such as a year or less.

The potential limitation of non-immigrant visas has long been a complicating factor for employers when seeking non-immigrant status on behalf of international employee. Adding these new provisions to the Foreign Affairs Manual may ultimately only further complicate this process.   

Immigrating to the United States is a complex and time-consuming process. We at Green and Spiegel are here to help. Please contact us today to discuss your potential options. 

Related Team

Jonathan Grode

Jonathan A. Grode

215-395-8959

215-395-8959

email Jonathan

Philadelphia (US Headquarters)
Providence (New England)

Full Biography

Jonathan A. Grode

Recent Blogs

Apr 13, 2021

F-1 Students Seeking Optional Practical Training Can Now File Form I-765 Online

On April 12. 2021 USCIS announced that F-1 students can now file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization online when applying for Pre-Completion OPT, Post-Completion OPT, or a 24-month OPT STEM extension. Learn more in this blog.

Apr 07, 2021

H, L, J-Visa Holders No Longer Suspended from Entry into the United States but Most Noncitizens Remain Subject to Travel Restrictions

Presidential Proclamation 10052, suspending H-1B, H-2B, J and L admissions, expired March 31, 2021. Ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) public health travel restrictions remain in place requiring travelers from certain areas to qualify for national interest exceptions. U.S. Consulates are still operating at reduced levels and will have to work through backlogs as the pandemic ends. Learn more in this blog.

Mar 23, 2021

U.S. Restrictions on Travel from Canada to the United States

Restrictions on U.S. – Canadian border travel will continue for at least another month. It is possible to fly from Canada to the United States. Those flying into the U.S. must have a COVID-19 test and may need advance permission. Learn more in this blog.