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9 FAM 601.84
NIV REFERRAL CASE ADJUDICATION
(Previous Location: 9 FAM Appendix K, 202; CT:VISA2218; 10302014)
a. Because of the importance
a) the Department and
b) chiefs of mission (COM)
place on this key consular function,
1) senior consular officers
a) at each post
must adjudicate all visa referral cases.
All Class A referrals must be adjudicated
i) the consular section chief, or
A) acting officially in that capacity
I) due to extended absence of the chief
(a) (i.e., not away at a meeting, etc.).
Class B referrals must be adjudicated
i) a tenured midlevel supervisory consular officer or
ii) the consular chief of section, or
A) acting officially in one of those capacities,
I) due to extended absence of the chief
(a) (i.e. not away at a meeting, etc.).
If a referral qualifies for interview waiver
a) (9 FAM 403.54),
1) the case
a) may be adjudicated
i) without an interview,
b) but must still be adjudicated
i) by senior consular officers,
A) as noted in earlier in this paragraph.
It is never appropriate
a) for referral cases to be adjudicated
i) by an entrylevel officer,
1) unless there is no tenured midlevel consular officer
a) at post.
Adjudicating officers should periodically check
a) with referring officers
b) to verify referrals and signatures.
a) with large Class B referral workloads
i) that encounter difficulties
A) due to the absence of supervisory officers at post
1) may contact CA/VO/F
a) for assistance in determining proper adjudication arrangements.
c. Adjudication Steps:
(1) Once complete referral packets are received,
1) the consular section must follow standard operating procedures
a) to ensure that
i) referrals are identified
A) properly in the nonimmigrant visa (NIV) system and
ii) that supporting documentation is scanned properly into the system.
NIV staff enter the referral case
a) into the NIV system,
b) using the referral function, and
c) completing all fields (9 FAM 601.88(A)).
The referrals function
a) in the NIV system
1) is used
a) to track visa referrals
i) submitted by individual referrers.
Referral data in NIV is comprised of two sets of information –
a. the referrer’s information, and
b. the beneficiary applicant’s information.
These two sets of information are associated with one another
a) using the referral information window.
How and when these sets of information are entered
a) into NIV
a) whether the process is initiated
A) the applicant information window or
B) the referral information window.
(Chapter 16 of the NIV User Manual contains further information on how to properly indicate referrals in the NIV system.).
(2) Once the case is entered into the system,
1) NIV staff must scan all documentation
a) for the case into the NIV system.
For referral cases,
1) posts must scan
a) Form DS5519,
i) Nonimmigrant Visa Referral, and
b) other documentation
i) relevant to the case.
The original visa referral form must be
a) filed with
i) the approved or
A) visa application.
(See 9 FAM 601.62 for further details on records retention and scanning requirements.)
(3) The case is brought to the appropriate adjudicating officer (see above).
The officer adjudicates the case in the comments field of the Form DS160, and in the NIV system. The remarks field must be used to explain any refusal or unusual circumstances.
(4) The NIV section will follow its normal issuance or refusal procedures, except that in the case of a refusal, the consular chief will provide feedback to the referring officer using Form DS5500, which must be scanned into the visa case record.
9 FAM 601.85
VISA REFERRAL RECORDS
(Previous Location: 9 FAM Appendix K, 104; CT:VISA1909; 10012012)
a. Section chiefs should ensure that data entry personnel understand the importance of properly entering referral cases as referral cases, of selecting the proper referral category (A or B), and of clearly identifying scanned documents by selecting the appropriate description during scanning. All visa referral documentation, including visa referral forms, must be scanned into each individual visa case and are maintained in the consular consolidated database (CCD). There are no exceptions. Posts must scan Form DS5519, Nonimmigrant Visa Referral, and other documentation relevant to the case (see 9 FAM 601.6 for further details on records retention and scanning). These electronic records are retained indefinitely and are subject to review.
b. Copies of signed Worldwide NIV Referral Policy Compliance Agreements
should be maintained as part of the referrals subject file (see 9 FAM 601.6 for details on visa subject files).
9 FAM 601.86
(Previous Location: 9 FAM Appendix K, 203; CT:VISA1909; 10012012)
a. Referring and approving officers must be provided timely feedback for any
case in which the referral is rejected or the referral applicant is refused. Form DS5500, Referral Rejection/Refusal, is the appropriate mechanism for providing such feedback. These forms must be scanned into the visa case record.
b. Similarly, any derogatory information regarding the applicant that becomes available after visa issuance must be brought to the referring officer’s attention, or to the section chief, if the referring officer has left post.
c. The referring officer is required to notify the consular section, regional
security officer (RSO), and the referral approving officer immediately when he or she becomes aware or has reason to suspect that any referral applicant
has failed to comply with the terms of his or her visa, violated status in the United States, or misrepresented him or herself in any manner in relation to the visa process. Failure to do so is abuse of the referral system, and can result in loss of referral privileges and/or disciplinary action.
d. Communication regarding a visa referral may be made only to the consular section chief, or in the case of Class B referrals, the designated managerial consular supervisor.