The pace of DS260 processing appears to be slower this year than last year. Given the low number of selectees in the first draw, that is a surprise – because the volume of DS260 submissions would have been less than the past 2 years.
So far the interviews have been based on about 2 weeks worth or submissions per month.
- October interviews were on DS260 submissions up to around May 15/20 (2 weeks worth of submissions)
- November interviews were on DS260 submissions up to around May 31 ( a bit less than 2 weeks worth of submissions)
- December interviews were on DS260 submissions up to around June 12/15 (2 weeks worth of submissions).
- January interviews were on DS260 submissions up to around the end of June (about 2 weeks worth of submissions). The latest submissions I am aware of (that were scheduled) were just two cases for July 1 and July 2. There will have been some cases earlier than that NOT processed in time.
The impact of this is that many people are being delayed. Cases are scheduled according to the case number and visa bulletin. HOWEVER, no case can be scheduled if the Ds260 has not completed processing. So, a low case number could be delayed because of a late submission. The reverse is not true, so a high case number (not yet current) cannot be scheduled simply because the DS260 was already processed.
I do expect this pace to speed up at some point. The majority of selectees would have submitted in the first month or two after the May announcement of winners, so as the majority of cases are processed, the 2 weeks per month pace should increase to say 3 or 4 weeks of submissions per month – and possibly faster than that. However, there would have been another spike of submissions in September because of the 2nd draw, so that could slow processing again when those DS260s are being processed.
Let me address some frequently asked questions…
Q1. Does this delay matter?
Well it is frustrating, I understand that, but generally speaking there is no negative impact of this delay. The Green Cards for interviews in March are just as good those for January interviews. So – patience is key.
Q2. My friend submitted after me and his form was processed before mine. Why?
Not all cases are the same. Someone may have a more complicated travel history (perhaps involving countries with increased security risk or uncooperative governments), different education or work history or even a different name that requires additional background checking. So – two cases submitted on the exact same day probably won’t complete at the same time. There could be days and even weeks difference in the processing time between the two cases.
Q3. Why is this happening?
I can on guess – I don’t know for sure.This slowness leads me to believe there is some different security checking in place this year, or it’s the same checks being done more slowly. There is a possibility that it is something to do with checks on the photo because for DV2018 instructions there was a clearer instruction that re-using a photo from a previous could result in disqualification. That indicates there are doing more to check entries against existing data sources, including previous year entries. This enhanced security is more likely and easier due to the move to electronic forms.
Q4. What other impacts will this have?
The Visa Bulletin number progression will slow down at some point when the DS260 backlog decreases. This is because all the cases already current that couldn’t previously be scheduled due to late submissions will take up the available interview slots once those DS260s are processed. That means KCC will not have to advance the VB numbers so much in order to get enough visa interviews in a month. I do expect processing pace to “catch up” within a few more months so the pace of processing should not represent a challenge to cases submitted in good time. However, I do NOT recommend testing that theory! I advise people to treat May of next year as the hard deadline to submit the DS260 to assure processing can be completed in time to be scheduled for an interview before the end of the year.
Q5. Is this the same for all regions?
Yes and no. Theoretically the region shouldn’t matter, but in reality it might. Africa typically sees slow submissions (based on the several years I have observed). So – their VB pace is high and many AF region cases are waiting. However, I have a small amount of anecdotal evidence that AF cases are taking longer to process even on early submission dates. So – there might be a change – but again I think the enhanced security checks could be a part of that.
Q6. I can’t be bothered to be patient and I don’t want to read all this information. Please just tell me when MY case will be scheduled!
I get these sort of questions (as a demand sometimes) all the time. It’s frustrating, to be perfectly honest. I write all this information to explain the process and educate people about the process, but there are some that ignore the info and want me to do their thinking for them. I am a busy person, so honestly I don’t have time for those requests. So – if you ask, don’t be surprised if I tell you to read this article again, or the basic questions article that explains how cases are scheduled.