OK, I get this question multiple times a day at the moment due to the concerns people are having with waiting for their cases, and this is a subject which needs a little explanation. I am writing this as of late March 2022, and although these comments are somewhat generic, I will also refer to some current situations and events – so this article should be understood in that time context.
Transfer versus changing the selected embassy
First – what you are asking for depends on the stage you are at. The terminology is important because the process is different.
If you have not yet been scheduled (no 2NL) you are not asking for a “transfer”, you are asking to change your selected embassy. That process ONLY involves KCC and has no need to contact the embassy. It has nothingv to do with the embassy, and yet I see people writing to the embassy at this point which is a waste of everyone’s time.
A transfer is the process needed when you have already been sent a 2NL (interview appointment) and for some reason need the interview to happen in some other embassy. That process ONLY involves the two embassies. It has nothing to do with KCC, so email them is a waste of everyone’s time.
Hopefully you see the point. Get the terminolgy right, to make sure you follow the correct process.
Change your selected embassy – normal process
If you need to change the embassy selected you have to contact KCC and ask them to do that. Changing embassies is normally only needed or appropriate if you have moved to another country. So – in that case you do the following:
- Request to unlock your form for an address update
- Update your new address in the new country
- Email KCC and ask them to change the embassy selected based on the address move. They will normally do that (with some exceptions explained later) but the selection in the DS260 will still show the OLD embassy selection. However, they will (hopefully) schedule the case at the correct embassy. It can go wrong, but you will not know until you receive the 2NL.
When you originally completed the DS260 you selected from a drop down list the embassy that you wanted to be scheduled at. That selection is a ONE TIME option. The applicant cannot ever update that field, even if the DS260 is unlocked. Only KCC can do it. So – some people ask KCC to change their embassy and get a slightly confusing reply that explains only KCC can do it. Some people take it as an answer of “no” to the request to change the embassy, and stop there. It simply means that KCC are the only ones to change the embassy, it does NOT mean it is impossible to change.
Changing the selected embassy because your embassy is working too slow
So many people are watching the CEAC data and comparing the activity from their country to another country, and that makes them want to change embassies. I am nervous of people doing this without using some caution. What I have seen is that people assume their own embassy is moving too slow, so they transfer to another embassy which is accepting a lot of cases but then they find that new embassy is overwhelmed and they would have been better off staying at their old embassy. Changing back may not be easy. So – be careful. Your embassy may be taking few cases because it is a small embassy with a small amount of cases to schedule, that might be a good thing for you! OR maybe it is about to open and become a high performing embassy (as happened in Nepal for instance). SO – exercise caution. KNow what you are doing and be sure what you are asking for ais a good idea.
Now, how can you do this. Well KCC might be reluctant to change cases based on this reasoning. From their point of view you are just a number, and they would prefer to keep the numbers in the countries where they live because that is how their capacity is arranged. So – you can ask them to move your case by being honest about the reason (that you think your chance of interview will be better elsewhere), but don’t be surprised if they put barriers in your way, or simply refuse the request. They might for example explain that your requested country will only take people already (legally) residing there. They may ask for proof of your residence. That might also be requested at an interview. SO – I DO NOT recommend lying to KCC about this in saying you live in the new country when in fact you don’t.
However, if you do have ties to the target country (you have citizenship there, family or friends there who can host you, or something of that nature) then your request may be more readily accepted. Just be CERTAIN that you will be able to travel to that country (visa requirements, COVID controls etc).
Now, let’s say you want to change because you live in one of the countries affected by current events. There are some special arrangements in place for several countries.
Russia and Ukraine Because of the war in Ukraine (because Putin is a moron) Russian and Ukrainian people cannot interview in their home countries. Russians are allocated to Warsaw and Ukrainian cases are allocated to Frankfurt. Ukrainians can also ask for their cases to be transferred to some other country as described in this official announcement.
Iraq and Afghanistan both these consulates are closed because of the awful situation there. In reaction to lawsuits (one by Curtis) the government announced special arrangements for people from those two countries. That was announced here – please note is is VERY important to follow the instructions about the email request PRECISELY in this case
There are also a number of “homeless embassies” where a standing arrangement is in place to process cases in other embassies, but I assume you are probably already aware of thos arrangements if you are affected by that situation. Iran is an example of that, as is Cuba, although the latter case is currently changing.
As I explained above this happens when you have already been scheduled, but cannot attend the interview in that country. I stress the word CANNOT. This is not something you do on a whim, if you are lucky enough to get an interview, my first advice is get there on that date if you can. However, is that is simply not possible then the transfer process is this.
Let’s say you have been scheduled for embassy A but want to switch to embassy B.
- You contact embassy B and ask them if they can accept your case to be transferred.
- If embassy B agrees, you contact embassy A and ask them to initiate the transfer. There is a special status in CEAC of “in transfer” for this process.
- Monitor the situation by checking with the embassies and confirm with embassy B the new date and time of the interview. The process can cause a later interview date – so be sure that is OK.
- Note that once you switch embassies your medical will need to be performed in the physician listed by embassy B.
OK – I hope this helps.