Welcome back to Immigration Lawyer Blog! In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides a brand-new update from the Department of State granting immigrant visa fee exemptions for certain visa applicants who were previously denied visas under Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983.
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As you may be aware, on January 20, 2021, President Biden issued Presidential Proclamation 10141, “Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States,” which immediately rescinded Proclamations 9645 and 9983. These Proclamations had temporarily banned the entry of immigrants from Burma, Eritrea, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela, and Yemen.
The Department of State has now made changes to its regulations calling for the exemption of immigrant visa (IV) fees for certain applicants who were previously denied an immigrant visa solely based on the temporary travel ban outlined in Proclamations 9645 and 9983.
What changes has the government made?
Effective immediately, all immigrant visa applicants who were previously denied an immigrant visa on or between December 8, 2017, and January 19, 2020, with the sole ground of ineligibility based on Proclamations 9645 or 9983, will be exempted from paying a new immigrant visa application fee or affidavit of support fee if they are reapplying for an immigrant visa.
Applicants will not need to pay a second fee if the following conditions are met:
- The immigrant visa applicant was previously denied an immigrant visa on or between December 8, 2017, and January 19, 2020; and
- The sole ground of ineligibility was based on Presidential Proclamation. 9645 or P.P. 9983; and
- The applicant is reapplying for an immigrant visa.
The Department of State has made clear that this new change in regulation is not retroactive and no refunds will be distributed based on this change. This new provision will allow for a one-time exemption of the applicable fees per applicant.
Separate from this form of relief, the Department of State regulation 22 C.F.R. 42.81(e) states that an immigrant visa applicant is not required to pay a new application fee when seeking reconsideration of a visa refusal, so long as they (1) apply within one year of the refusal date, and (2) provide additional evidence that overcomes the ineligibility on which the visa was denied.
The Department of State has said that individuals who were refused on or after January 20, 2020, may benefit under that regulation and fee exemption, because they are presumed to have sought reconsideration of their prior refusals on January 20, 2021, when the President issued Proclamation 10141.
A helpful FAQ section has also been added to the Department of State webpage with more answers regarding the immigrant visa fee for applicants previously refused under Proclamations 9645 and 9983.
I already paid a second immigrant visa application fee. Can I get a refund based on this new regulation?
This amended regulation took effect on January 19, 2022, and only applies to applicants who applied for their IV for the second time on or after the effective date of the new regulation. No refunds will be distributed based on this change to the regulations.
My visa application was refused pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 9645 or 9983, but I was also refused on additional grounds. Am I still eligible for the fee exemption?
Some applicants may have been initially denied IVs under P.P. 9645 or 9983 and additional refusal grounds. These applicants are not eligible for the fee exemption, unless a consular officer had previously determined that the refusal on other grounds had been overcome and the only impediment to issuance of an IV on January 20, 2021, was due to P.P. 9645 or 9983.
My visa application was refused based solely on Presidential Proclamation 9645 or 9983, but my visa application was refused after January 20, 2020. Am I still eligible for the fee exemption?
Although this final rule does not apply to IV applicants who were refused on or after January 20, 2020, Department regulations at 22 C.F.R. 42.81(e) already provided for the reconsideration of their previously filed application without an additional application fee. That regulation allows IV applicants to have their case reconsidered, without payment of an additional fee, by providing “further evidence tending to overcome the ground of ineligibility on which the refusal was based” within one year of the date of refusal. The Department considers Presidential Proclamation 10141, issued January 20, 2021, as the presentation of evidence overcoming the ineligibility, thus allowing cases refused within the prior year to be reconsidered under 22 C.F.R. 42.81(e) without a new application fee.
My DV-2020 application was refused pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 9645 or 9983. Am I exempted from paying a new fee?
Generally, U.S. law requires diversity visa (DV) selectees to obtain a DV before the end of the fiscal year (i.e. September 30) for which they were selected. For that reason, DV selectees from the 2017, 2018, and 2019 program years are not eligible to make a new application and cannot benefit from this rule. However, the Department of State is aware of a court order in Gomez v. Trump regarding the reservation and adjudication of DV-2020 diversity visas by September 30, 2022. A DV-2020 applicant who was refused solely under Presidential Proclamation 9645 or 9983 may benefit from the fee exception provision discussed here. We will publish additional public guidance regarding the Department’s compliance with the Gomez court order as it becomes available here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/diversity-visa-2020-and-2021-updates.html. DV applicants from the 2021 program year cannot benefit as they would have been refused after January 20, 2020; the fee exemption only applies to those refused on January 19, 2020, or earlier
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- Immigrant Visa Fee Exemption for Applicants Previously Refused under Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983
- Presidential Proclamation 10141
- February 2022 Visa Bulletin
- Adjustment of Status Filing Dates from Visa Bulletin
- DOS YouTube Channel
- Blog Post: What is happening with the EB-5 Regional Center Program?
- Immigrant Visa Backlog Report
- DOS Visa Services Operating Status Update
- ImmigrationU Membership
- Success stories
- Youtube channel
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