Back to Top skip to main content
Green and Spiegel - An Immigration Law Firm - United States
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

Oct 19, 2020

USCIS Announces Increased Premium Processing Fees Effective October 19, 2020

Starting October 19, 2020, the fee for Premium Processing, will be $2,500 (previously $1,440) for all filings except those requesting H-2B (non-agricultural seasonal worker) or R-1 (Religious Worker) status, for which the new fee is $1,500 (previously $1,440).Any filings post-marked on or after October 19th must include the new fee amount. Any Form-1-907 postmarked on or after October 19th with the incorrect fee amount will be rejected and the fee returned.

Oct 13, 2020

US and European Partners are Moving Towards Reopening Transatlantic Travel by Adopting New Pandemic Protocols

KEY POINTS: • Foreign nationals who wish to travel to the United States from Europe either must fit into one of the travel restriction exceptions or obtain advance permission to board a plane to the U.S. • In the alternative, they may travel to a third country and quarantine there for two weeks prior to coming to the United States. • The U.S. and overseas partners are anxious to relax those restrictions. Advanced COVID-19 airport testing may provide a solution. • We expect some testing of these technologies followed by the announcement of new travel protocols in time for the winter holidays.

Oct 09, 2020

Biden Vs. Trump Comparison

As we approach the November elections it has never been clearer that this country faces upheaval and challenges that will bring about dramatic, lasting, and hopefully vital changes to our nation and its people. Here, we compare how the two candidates have and will handle immigration policy in the United States.