DoS have now issued an extremely clear statement explaining exactly what can and can’t be done for DV 2020 cases. It is saying almost exactly everything I have been explained since Friday – so it’s great to see it clarified and posted so fast. The statement will also be matched by cables to the embassies to explain how they are to be handled.
The one thing I do not see in the statement, that I would have preferred to see is the wording relating to mission critical processing. However, the statement says the following “that the Department must make good-faith efforts to expeditiously process and adjudicate DV-2020 diversity visa applications by September 30, 2020″ – the emphasis added by me. This should be enough to wake up any resistant embassies.
Update: they confirmed the cases are mission critical.
However, the more damaging aspect of the statement (and also an email sent to the legal team regarding named plaintiffs), is the statement regarding the five Covid travel restrictions (China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the UK, Ireland, or Brazil). The statement says the restrictions remain in force, that is correct and not challenged by the order. However, the policy (and email) say that people at embassies in those areas will not be issued visas because of the travel restriction. I believe Judge Mehta covered this under his ruling showing the no-visa policy as being unlawful, and point 1 of the order (in my opinion) was crafted in a way that should allow issuance of visas including within the five restricted regions (as listed). I have reached out to the lawyers to get their insight into that, and will report back anything I hear. I have further suggested they seek clarity from Judge Mehta on this point. However until that clarity is received, people within the five listed areas will still be blocked by the policy, so I hope the policy will quickly be changed, one way or another.
So – now you should start to see some movement from the embassies, but remember all the things I have explained in my updates about how each group should behave. Once KCC opens later today, they should be aware of this policy change and start to make their efforts to help where they can.
The statement does make clear the following (does not apply to people in the restricted areas of China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the UK, Ireland, or Brazil):
- Embassies could process re-issuances (group 1) immediately but new medicals will be required to ensure the validity period is useful.
- AP cases (group 2) can be adjudicated (assuming the AP is completed), but again a new medical will be required.
- Cancelled interview cases can be scheduled by the embassies if local conditions allow – embassies should do this expeditiously – so make sure you stress that to the embassies and get emergency/mission critical appointments. Again, get a new medical.
- People ready for scheduling (group 4) need to contact KCC and possibly the embassy. As I explain in the video below, you can speak to KCC and the embassy at the same time – try to book your appointment with the embassy and then all KCC have to do is send the case electronically to the embassy, that might speed things up, especially in embassies where there are a small number of cases.
- Group 5 people have the greatest risk still – so by all means push KCC, but the chances are small to none without an extension.
- Travel will not be possible while the proclamation is in force, which is why people should get new medicals to allow travel into early 2021.
- September 30th is still the current deadline so all of what is said above assumes that deadline will remain firm. If an extension is granted, things will obviously change, but don’t bank on that, as it is unlikely (not impossible, but unlikely) to happen.
- I reached out to the legal team this morning and whilst they are taking different approaches, they are all working on this. YOu can choose to participate in Curtis’ DV3.0 lawsuit BUT you can also get help from the AILA team as they will be giving Judge Mehta as much information as possible where the government has not used best efforts to help ALL selectees. Jesse Bless of the AILA has asked people to register with their questionnaire here.