U.S. CONSULATE PROCESSING UPDATE: Consular Returns From U.S. Consular Offices Abroad to the Vermont Service Center.

Have you had an issue with an Application at the U.S. Consulate abroad? Has your case been placed into a 221(g) Administrative Hold? Are you waiting and waiting and now and feeling like there is nothing that you can do? Well, . . . we have some recent guidance that may be helpful to you.

The Vermont Service Center (VSC) provided updated information on handling of consular returns at the October 18, 2013 Stakeholders Meeting. Specifically, VSC indicates that consular returns are currently backlogged at 6 months or longer; cases involving H-1B extensions receive more immediate attention. VSC also confirmed that its current protocol is to “shelf” a case and take no further action on it if it is returned again to the VSC by the Department of State (DOS) after a VSC reaffirmation.

VSC emphasizes it is working with DOS to better coordinate DOS transmissions when petition is returned to the VSC, including more detailed information on issues presented at the consulate that may not be apparent when the case is being adjudicated at the VSC. VSC hopes that improved coordination with DOS, along with the recent addition of 40 adjudicators to work consular return cases, will decrease consular return processing times.

The VSC acknowledges that applicants are usually not provided with the actual Notice of Return and/or the specific reasons for a return, which can be especially problematic for petitioners responding to a Notice of Intent to Revoke.

Upon issuing a Notice of Intent to Revoke, VSC stated that it will consider providing applicants with either a copy of the return, redacted if necessary, or specific information provided by the consulate that it believes necessitated the return. The VSC Committee will track returns to see if this occurs and it will follow up with the VSC on this issue if necessary.

For more information about Consular Processing, Administrative Holds under 221(g) or Notices of Intent to Deny or Revoke (NOIDs) in India or throughout the world, please feel free to contact any of the immigration lawyers or attorneys at the Nachman Phulwani Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group, P.C. by e-mail at info@visaserve.com or by calling our offices at 201-670-0006 (x107).