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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
Press Statement 

Press Statement by James B. Foley, Deputy Spokesman
December 4, 1998 

Department Improves Immigrant Visa Processing

Effective December 14, the Department of State is implementing a new procedure
to assist prospective immigrants to comply with the requirement to demonstrate
that they are not likely to become a public charge to the U.S. government. This is
another example of the Department's effort to streamline immigrant visa
processing, and to use its limited resources as efficiently as possible. 

The State Department's National Visa Center (NVC), located in Portsmouth, N.H.,
will mail the Affidavit of Support Form I-864 directly to the U.S. petitioner who is
sponsoring the prospective immigrant's visa application. Under the old system,
NVC sent the form to the applicant, who then had to forward it to the petitioner in
the United States. In most cases, NVC will instruct the petitioner to send the
completed Affidavit of Support form to the applicant for presentation to the
Embassy or Consulate at the time of the visa interview. 

However, beginning January 4, 1999, for the State Department's three largest
immigrant visa processing posts (Ciudad Juarez, Manila, and Santo Domingo), NVC
will instruct the petitioner to return the completed form to NVC for a technical
review. NVC will verify that the form has been completed, signed and notarized
and that the requisite tax returns are present. If it is determined that one or more
of these steps has not been done, NVC will correspond with the petitioner to
assist him or her in properly completing the form. NVC then forwards the file to
the Embassy or Consulate where the interview takes place. The final decision
regarding the sufficiency of the affidavit is made by the interviewing consular

By having NVC send the Affidavit of Support form directly to the petitioner, and by
pre-screening the completed form for our three largest posts, we hope to reduce
processing time and improve the likelihood that the form will be fully completed
by the time of the visa interview. Using these steps, we can minimize the number
of refusals due to incomplete documentation, and save the applicant from having
to make unnecessary visits to our Embassies and Consulates. 

[end of document] 

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