DOS Provides Guidance on Immigrant Visa Processing for Those Previously Subject to the Muslim Travel Ban P.P. 9645 and 9983

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides an important update from the Department of State regarding immigrant visa processing following the cancellation of Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983, also known as “the Muslim travel ban.”

In this video we will talk about the new procedures for applicants who were previously affected by these Proclamations and what the immigrant visa application process will look like going forward now that these Proclamations have been rescinded.

Keep on watching to find out more.


On his first day in office, President Biden signed the Presidential Proclamation entitled, “Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States,” which rescinded the travel restrictions of Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983 also known as “the Muslim travel ban.” As you may recall, these Proclamations blocked the entry of certain foreign nationals from predominantly Muslim countries into the United States, including Burma, Eritrea, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela, and Yemen.

Biden’s new proclamation now makes it possible for these individuals to immediately proceed with visa processing as before the ban went into effect.

What is the procedure for applicants who were previously denied before January 20, 2020?

According to new guidance released by the Department of State, immigrant visa applicants who were previously refused due to either Presidential Proclamation 9645 or 9983 and were determined not to qualify for a waiver before January 20, 2020, may reapply for a visa by submitting a new visa application (DS-260) and paying a new visa application processing fee.

Remedies for those who were found ineligible due to P.P. 9645 or 9983 on or after January 20, 2020

In the alternative, immigrant visa applicants refused due to Presidential Proclamations 9645 or 9983 who were determined not to qualify for a waiver on or after January 20, 2020, may request their local embassy or consulate to reconsider their case within one year of the date of their waiver refusal without submitting a new application or paying a new visa application processing fee, consistent with Department regulations.

Remedies for those whose waiver eligibility was being considered as of January 20, 2021

Immigrant visa applicants who were refused due to either P.P. 9645 or 9983 and whose eligibility for a waiver was still being evaluated as of January 20, 2021, will continue to have their applications processed.  Embassies and consulates are prioritizing the adjudication of applications for those individuals who, as of January 20, 2021, were awaiting an outcome from the P.P. 9645/9983 waiver process.

Those who did not qualify for a waiver of P.P. 9645 or 9983

Nonimmigrant visa applicants who were previously refused due to either P.P. 9645 or 9983 and did not qualify for a waiver will need to submit a new visa application (DS-160) and pay a new visa application processing fee if they wish to reapply for a visa.

Does the cancellation of the Muslim travel ban mean that I can immediately receive an interview?

No. While the Department of State may now immediately process immigrant visa applicants for those who were previously temporarily banned from entering the United States, Embassies and Consulates worldwide will continue to adhere to the phased resumption of operations framework.

Therefore, the cancellation of P.P. 9645 and 9983 does not mean that you will be scheduled for an immigrant visa appointment at your local Embassy or Consulate on an immediate basis. Instead, each post will gradually resume routine visa services consistent with the Department of State’s guidance to safely return its workforce to DOS facilities amid the pandemic.

At this time, U.S. Embassies and Consulates have prioritized emergency and mission-critical visa services and will provide other services as necessary under the framework.

The Department’s recommendations for previously denied visas

DOS recommends that applicants, including those previously denied due to P.P. 9645 or 9983, consult the website of their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to determine if their case qualifies for expedited processing. The Embassy/Consular website will outline when missions can begin providing additional services and provide a complete resumption of routine visa services.

Interview Waivers

We would also like to notify our readers that the Department of State recently provided guidance regarding interview waivers. The Secretary of State has temporarily expanded the ability of consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for individuals applying for a nonimmigrant visa in the same classification.

Previously, only those applicants whose nonimmigrant visa expired within 24 months were eligible for an interview waiver. The Secretary has temporarily extended the expiration period to 48 months. 

This policy is in effect until December 31, 2021.  This change will allow consular officers to continue processing certain nonimmigrant visa applications while limiting the number of applicants who must appear at a consular section, thereby reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission to other applicants and consular staff.

Travelers are encouraged to review the website of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for detailed information on what services are currently available as well as eligibility information and instructions on applying for a visa without an interview.

Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.

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