R 111607Z DEC 01
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS
SPECIAL EMBASSY PROGRAM
UNCLAS STATE 211789
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS, CMGT
SUBJECT: CHANGES TO PACKET SYSTEM FOR IMMIGRANT VISA PROCESSING
This message has been cleared with M/P(SEP).
1. This message describes changes to the standard information packages used to communicate with immigrant visa applicants. Briefly put, the IV packet system is being eliminated in favor of a simpler system of standardized mailings and more explicit provision for the use of Internet and other electronic resources when appropriate. The procedural notes in 9 FAM Volume 42 dealing with immigrant visa processing have been revised to reflect these changes and will be updated in the next release of Inserts.
2. Although the IV packet system has served well for over forty years with relatively few changes, the ease with which information can now be maintained and shared electronically makes the linear, rationed approach to immigrant visa information less useful. The numbered packets, many of which are no longer used by consular sections and rarely seen by applicants, were also the source of some confusion. The numbered packet system has therefore been eliminated. Packets 1, 2, 2a and 3a no longer exist. Standardized information sheets should be used to respond to queries as discussed below. The old Packet 3 has now been renamed the "Instruction Package for Immigrant Visa Applicants." Packet 4 is referred to as the "Appointment Package for Immigrant Visa Applicants." Packet 4a, important as the mailing that initiates the termination process, is now referred to as the "Follow-Up Instruction Package for Immigrant Visa Applicants."
3. Automated consular systems will continue to refer to standard information packages by their old packet numbers for the time being.
4. The DSL series information sheets are obsolete and should no longer be used. Instead, information sheets identified by title and date have been drafted and are available on the CA Intranet by clicking on the "IV" link. These information sheets are referenced in the revised FAM notes, but copies of this information will no longer be maintained in the FAM. Instead, consular personnel should consider the text available on the Intranet site to be the definitive text. Every effort will be made to ensure that content of the CA Internet site mirrors that maintained on the Intranet, but in the event of any discrepancy, posts are reminded that the Intranet remains the definitive source of visa information. These information sheets and the forms posted on the Intranet site may be e-mailed to inquirers and IV applicants as requested. They may also be printed on demand at smaller volume posts. Larger volume IV operations should use these information sheets as master documents and continue to print in bulk those most commonly used.
5. VO is working with CSD on changes to the format of Appendix C that will make it easier to maintain and share post-specific IV processing information. In the meantime, post should print country-specific portions of Appendix C from the online version of Appendix C whenever this information is requested.
6. The old OF-169 (the "Packet 3 checklist," renumbered DS-2001 last year) has been redesigned. The information concerning documents required for IV application has been separated out into an information sheet entitled "Instructions for Immigrant Visa Applicants." This document, covered by the form letter generated by the automated IV system, will become the basic component of the new "Instruction Package for Immigrant Visa Applicants." The DS-2001 has been redesigned as a one-page optional form to be used by applicants or their agents to notify post or NVC that they are ready for interview. The revised DS-2001 is now with OMB for approval and will be distributed and posted on the Intranet as soon as available. In the meantime, posts may feel free to use either the current DS-2001 or the revised "Instructions for Immigrant Visa Applicants" (posted on the CA Intranet) but should not use both forms as this would cause confusion. The new DS-2001 cannot be used until approved by OMB.
7. The 9 FAM 42 procedural notes have also been revised to remove references to "rationing" or piecemeal provision of information to IV applicants. Although IV processing posts are still required to provide the "Instruction Package" and "Appointment Package" at the appropriate stage in the IV process, this information may be provided to all inquirers, applicant or not, prepared or not, at any time. The forms and information sheets used in the IV process are public documents widely available on the Internet. Although consular officers will still need to stress to IV applicants the need to proceed through the IV process in a linear manner to avoid confusion, all information should be made available upon request.
8. Septel will provide guidance on further FAM changes concerning the definition of "documentarily qualified" and various pre-screening measures that may be used in the IV process.
9. Post comments and questions concerning these changes are welcome and should be addressed to CA/VO.
10. Minimize considered.