The U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) has made several revisions to the Foreign Affairs Manual (“FAM”) directly reflecting the “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order (“EO”) 13788 that was signed by President Trump in April 2017. The FAM is the authoritative source containing policies and procedures to guide DOS consular officers to effectively carry out their responsibilities in accordance with their statutory, executive, and Department mandates.
The new FAM language guiding the adjudication of all Nonimmigrant Visa categories (E-1, E-2, H-1B, L-1, O-1, P) reiterates the protection of U.S. workers “in the administration of our immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud or abuse” and instructs consular officers to adjudicate cases under each of these visa categories “with this spirit in mind.” In addition, the FAM has also been updated with additional language in the chapter concerning F-1 student visas. The added language provides consular officers even more discretionary power to deny a student’s visa application simply because an officer was not “satisfied” with the applicant’s evidence.
Overall, all of the changes made appear to instruct officers to apply a more rigorous approach to determining whether an applicant meets the requirements of the visa category in question. It remains to be seen how these FAM changes will impact the adjudication of nonimmigrant visas, and SPS Immigration will provide updates as available. If you have questions about how these changes may impact your upcoming visa appointment, please contact SPS Immigration.