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Biometric Identifier Requirement May Eliminate Visa Revalidation Program at State Department

By William J. Manning
  • May 24, 2004

The U. S. Department of State (DOS) recently confirmed that the Visa Revalidation Program likely will be eliminated by the end of 2004. The program has served a need by allowing visa holders to renew without having to apply in person in their home countries. However, effective October 2004, all visas issued by the DOS must include a biometric identifier. The Visa Revalidation Unit in Washington D.C. is not equipped to interview or fingerprint visa applicants. Consequently, employees likely will no longer be able to  request a new visa through the DOL.     

Employers should prepare for the likelihood that the DOS will not be able to issue non-biometric visas after the October 2004 deadline. Since visa revalidations currently are taking approximately 10-12 weeks, we recommend that revalidation applications be filed by the end of June 2004 to ensure the adjudication of the application with the DOS in Washington, D.C.    

There are congressional efforts underway to ensure the continuing viability of the Visa Revalidation Unit. Since the requirement for biometrics and fingerprints plays a significant role in any decision to eliminate the Revalidation Unit, it is being proposed that the DOS make use of the existing infrastructure at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Specifically, the proposal suggests that the DOS use the existing application support centers (ASCs), which already take photographs and fingerprints of applicants with cases pending with the USCIS. Unless a personal interview is required, this option might secure the continuation of the valuable Visa Revalidation Program.    

We will keep you informed of these developments as they become available to the public. In the meantime, if you would like more information, please contact the Jackson Lewis Immigration Practice Group.  

©2004 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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