It seems people are misunderstanding the importance and impact of the new document procedure. To those that apply a little logic, it should be clear that this new procedure is impacting the process already, and it should also be clear that this may impact the year as a whole.
So – first of all, and as previously described, the new procedure was introduced for interviews from January (in other words, cases being scheduled in November). Since that time, as far as I know, no case has been scheduled unless the DS260 was submitted AND the documents had been submitted and processed. Of course, cases cannot be scheduled unless current (meaning below the number shown for the region on the Visa Bulletin).
People are being contacted by email to send in their documents, BUT the official instructions have also been updated for the new procedure so it is NOT necessary to wait for the email asking for documents to send them. However, it is also unwise to send them much too early (because the police certs will be old) – so people need to apply some common sense about when they send the documents. Basically if you think your case number will be current in the next month or two, you need to send your documents to KCC whether they have asked for that or not. On the other hand if your case is clearly not going to be current for several more months, then hold on to your documents another month or two before sending.
Now – in terms of effect on the process. I have explained this in various responses numerous times. However, there are some people who still seem confused. So – let me, once again, clarify a couple of the effects – and I apologize for the repetition to those that already understand this.
Backlog (short term impact)
Just as we have seen previously, the new procedure tends to inject a bit of chaos into the process. With the new procedure, cases cannot be scheduled that would previously have been scheduled. There is a lag introduced which causes backlog – meaning some of the interview places available each month are used by cases that have been current for more than a month. That has always happened to a small extent, but with the new document procedure that is MORE likely.
Long Term Impact
OK – so how about longer term – what will change because of the new procedure. Well imagine 100 cases in some region. Of those 100 cases, some will want interviews and be waiting for their 2NL. If they are not readers of my blog or similar sites, and if they are not paying attention to the official instructions, they might not realize there has been a significant change. They might not find out until it is too late, so there will be some number of cases in our imaginary 100 cases that want an interview but never get one. That is immensely sad for people that will lose out that way, but it does mean that visa issuances will be lower. And that gives a little more hope to those with high case numbers.
Low issued visa numbers and interview numbers
If you check the data available from Xarthisius from CEAC and the official numbers two things are clear.
- Visas issued numbers are behind where they should be at this point in the year.
- Interviews are behind the normal pace.
On the visas issued, the low number of interviews scheduled (particularly in January) due to the new procedure, has meant a large shortfall in the visas issued we would normally have expected by now.
EU region can see about 1300 to 1400 interviews in a month (based on previous years). AF can see over 2000 interviews. Neither region is seeing anything like those numbers at the moment – so the next few months need to be much busier than what we have seen.
So what will happen with the Visa Bulletin?
The new document impact tends to mean larger increases in the VB pace (except when many of the interview slots go to backlog from previous months). The pace should be higher because less of the “next” cases are able to be scheduled, so KCC have to increase the range faster to yield enough cases. That was particularly apparent in EU region last month when the VB was increased by 5000 numbers. From those 5000 case numbers there were nearly 2300 actual cases (because more than half the case numbers in that range are “holes”). However, from that range (13500 to 18499) there were only about 400 cases scheduled (and eventually something like 1300/1400 of the 2300 cases will need to be scheduled. Another 480 cases we scheduled from “backlog” (meaning cases under 13500). So – it is clear that a great many cases have not had their documents submitted/processed, and those cases will need to be allocated interview slots in later months.
AF region had a smaller VB increase, but had nearly 1300 interviews arranged for April (nearly half of those were from backlog). That is not where the region should be in terms of interviews and pace.
However, I do NOT have any predictions for the next VB, because, quite honestly there is too much uncertainty. There are FIVE remaining VBs for DV2019. So – no need to panic, but we do need to see increased pace for AF region in particular, and I suspect we will see that beginning soon. EU region just had a big jump, BUT must have a big backlog starting to build, so that might keep VB numbers low either in the next VB or the one for June.
AS, SA and OC region are all behaving “as expected”. Asia region is of course heavily impacted by the travel ban and both the pace/final outcome is less of a concern for that region.
So – how about some final cutoff predictions then?
If you think issuing predictions is a good idea with all this going on, you are simply not thinking straight! It should be obvious that the process is being impacted, and the chaos is causing uncertainty. The ONLY sensible answer is “wait and see” – and I am a sensible person….
I hope this helps clarify things a bit. I was planning to release a video to explain some of this, but I have two very busy business weeks of travelling ahead of me so wanted to get something out.