By Chris Musillo

U.S. embassies and consulates have begun using a tiered approach to manage their substantial backlog of immigrant visas. Many embassies and consulates continue to have a significant backlog of all categories of immigrant visas.

Tier One: Immediate relative intercountry adoption visas, age-out cases (cases where the applicant will soon no longer qualify due to their age), and certain Special Immigrant Visas (SQ and SI for Afghan and Iraqi nationals working with the U.S. government)

Tier Two: Immediate relative visas; fiancé(e) visas; and returning resident visas

Tier Three: Family preference immigrant visas and SE Special Immigrant Visas for certain employees of the U.S. government abroad

Tier Four: All other immigrant visas, including employment preference and diversity visas
While the Posts will generally use these tiers in order, where possible, Posts are scheduling some appointments within all four priority tiers every month. Still the State Department recognizes that visa applicants, “particularly those in Tiers Three and Four, will face continued delays.”