On November 2, the Department of State (DOS) issued a final rule regarding procedures for issuing visas.
By Tabitha O'Connell
On November 2, the Department of State (DOS) issued a final rule regarding procedures for issuing visas. 22 CFR 41.113 is being amended to remove the mention of a visa stamp and instead reference the machine-readable visa format, which is the current format being used. The reason for this amendment is to comply with 8 USC 1732, which states in part, “Not later than October 26, 2004, the Attorney General and the Secretary of State shall issue to aliens only machine-readable, tamper-resistant visas and other travel and entry documents that use biometric identifiers.”
A mention of the possibility of electronic visas being issued has also been added, as this system is intended to be implemented in the future. An electronic visa will contain a zone to be scanned at the port of entry, which will enable officers to access information from the DOS's electronic database in order to confirm the visa holder's identity and the visa's validity.
Also noted in the final rule is the removal from 22 CFR 41.113 of a records retention provision and a visa review provision, as the descriptions of those procedures are meant for internal DOS use and are thus included instead in the Foreign Affairs Manual.