Following the sharp increase in the number of visas processed in fiscal year 2023, new measures began to be planned and implemented in the United States. Among them, the analysis of digital visas is a priority. Will it be the future of this migratory resource?
At a press conference last November, Julie Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services at the Bureau of Consular Affairs, gave more details to foreign journalists about this pilot program. Jaskot Law tells you all the details.
Digital visas, the future of these resources?
Currently, and as has been the case for many years, any immigrant entering the United States for any reason must have not only a visa, but also a series of numerous paper documents to validate his or her status. According to Julie Stufft, this is changing and soon there will be more results.
In this regard, a pilot program was announced in which a new digital visa system is being tested, whereby immigrants will not need to have the information on paper, which would bring great benefits.
Home renewal of work visas
Speaking to reporters, Julie commented that the new renovation system will be pilot tested this month. With it, individuals living and working in the U.S. on a long-term work visa do not have to leave the country to apply for their next visa or renew it.
Instead, interested parties should only send the application to the corresponding offices in Washington. In Julie’s words:
“We started small with a pilot of 20,000 visas in December, January and February, and hope to open it up to more categories (…) during the rest of 2024.”
In this way, the authorities would renew the visa without the interested parties leaving the country and send it back to them with their own passport. This represents a great improvement in terms of time. The team of Jaskot Law will continue to report on this matter.
Considerations to be taken into account regarding digital visas
It is important to mention that, while digital visas would represent a further step towards modernizing the visa process, its nature would not change. This means that there would still be instances of face-to-face processing.
In this regard, Stufft stated that the visa is not adjudicated or processed electronically. In fact, interviews with consular officials may still be required. What changes is that the beneficiary will not have any paper and perhaps a mobile application will be implemented.
2024 projections for work visas and digital visas
After analyzing fiscal year 2023 statistics regarding the volume of work or general visas processed and issued, the Department of State is working on new measures for FY 2024. In this regard, some of the measures under analysis are the following:
- Reduction of waiting times: Work is being done to reduce the high rate of waiting times in visa processing due to high demand.
- Interview waiver: Work is underway to implement an interview waiver for travelers who have previously entered the United States. The possibility of extending the measure to another category of immigrants is being analyzed.
- Global implementation of digital visas: Following pilot testing of the new digital visa system, it is expected to be implemented globally in late 2024 or early 2025.
These measures represent the future of visa processing in the United States. However, making the leap to virtual methods can be stressful and complicated for some people. No worries, Jaskot Law is here to guide you every step of the way and give you peace of mind.
In conclusion, it is clear that globalization brings with it new methodologies and tools. Within them, digital visas are emerging as a valuable element and part of this digital modernization.
As with any paradigm shift or implementation of new technologies, making the leap can be overwhelming and represent large amounts of stress. However, this is a procedure that will take place in stages, and Jaskot Law will be able to accompany you and give you the security you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will we have to download any application or program for the new digital visas process?
No, there is currently no need to download any application. This process is still in the testing phase, and it is not defined that a new application will be implemented in the future. Stay tuned for updates to see how it is progressing.
Which countries will have this new method available?
For now, the State Department is conducting tests at the embassy in Dublin, Ireland. In the future, it is planned that this methodology will be extended globally to different countries around the world, although the definitive list has not yet been decided.
What type of visas can be renewed with the new digital visa methodology?
For the time being, tests are being conducted for the long-term work visa, but it is expected that new categories will be added to this list to benefit numerous immigrants entering the United States.