VISAS- INFORM CONSULS
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: GUIDANCE ON IMMIGRANT AND NONIMMIGRANT VISA PROCESSING FOR LEBANESE CITIZENS
1. Summary: While Embassy Beirut remains closed for visa processing, Embassy Athens has been temporarily designated to process Immigrant Visas for Lebanese nationals. Posts worldwide may consider accepting Immediate Relative petitions for filing and processing for humanitarian consideration under the procedures outlined in the FAM. Otherwise, Lebanese citizens not resident in Posts’ consular districts should be instructed to contact Embassy Athens. Posts may accept Lebanese nonimmigrant visa applicants physically present in their consular districts but these should be processed under normal local visa processing procedures and should not be expedited ahead of other visa applicants. Lebanese NIV applicants in the F, J, L, M, O and P categories can contact Embassy Athens for interview appointments after August 1, 2006. (End Summary)
2. Embassy Beirut has ceased all visa processing for the duration of the current crisis and it is currently impossible to predict how long this situation will continue. CA has been contacted by various posts throughout the region requesting instructions on whether they should accept non-resident Lebanese immigrant visa applicants while Embassy Beirut remains closed for visa processing. CA has decided to designate Embassy Athens, effective August 1, 2006 as the immigrant visa processing post for Lebanese nationals until such time as Embassy Beirut can resume its normal visa operations. Lebanese immigrant visa applicants should be instructed to address their inquiries to Embassy Athens via email at Athens-IV-Lebanon@state.gov.
3. Posts without a DHS presence may consider accepting Immediate Relative petitions for humanitarian reasons for filing and processing in accordance with 9 FAM 42.41 N.4.2-3. Petition authority would be exercised only in the IR/CR categories along with I-360s and I-600s. Petition authority is limited to those petitions that are clearly approvable. Preference category petitions will continue to be processed through CIS Service Centers under normal procedures.
4. Posts may accept non-resident Lebanese non-immigrant visa applicants who are physically present in their consular district. These applicants should be processed under normal local NIV procedures, including interview appointment scheduling. Posts should not expedite these applications ahead of other NIV applicants, unless their cases qualify for normal expedited processing for students and businessmen. Any inquiries that posts receive from or on behalf of Lebanese nationals applying for F, H, J, L, M, O or P visas who are not physically present in their consular districts should be directed to contact Embassy Athens for an interview appointment at their website http://athens.usembassy.gov/visas.html .