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Potential Termination of Inactive Immigrant Visa Petitions

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In specific situations, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) has the power to terminate an immigrant visa registration and revoke the underlying immigrant visa petitions if the priority date is current and the case has stayed inactive for a particular term. The following is an overview of the conditions under which this can happen.

Determining When a Case can be Deemed “Inactive” | Immigrant Visa Petitions

The Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) lists the four situations in which a candidate’s case might be considered inactive, and therefore subject to termination:

  • The candidate doesn’t apply for an immigrant visa within one year of getting the immigrant visa appointment letter or other notification of visa availability.
  • A candidate neglects to respond to the appointment notice included with the immigrant visa appointment package and fails to take further action on the case within one year of the scheduled interview.
  • The candidate has rejected a visa at the immigrant visa interview under section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and then neglects to submit proof within one year planned to overcome the basis of the 221(g) refusal.
  • The candidate does not comply with the follow-up instruction package for immigrant visa candidates or sign into the candidate’s consular electronic application center (CEAC) account within one year.
  • These provisions apply to most categories of immigrant visa candidates, including candidates who are immediate relatives, family-sponsored immigrants, and employment-based immigrants who have received notification that an immigrant visa is available.

If Notified of Termination, Applicant Has One Year to Attempt Reinstatement

If a candidate’s pending case meets any of the above rules. The department will mail a termination of registration letter to the candidate. At the address on file and to any third party by the candidate to get such notification (e.g., the lawyer of record). At that point, the candidate has one year to establish that the failure to appear within the first year. It was due to circumstances beyond the individual’s control. Such as a medical emergency or natural disaster. If the candidate succeeds in reinstating the case, the case may resume. If the applicant fails to give a sufficient basis for registration within one year of the notice of termination of registration. In a situation in which the candidate doesn’t respond at all to the notice. The consulate will send a final notice of cancellation to the candidate.

[280,000 green cards up for grabs before September 30 deadline]


While applying for an immigrant visa, the candidate must answer as quickly as possible inquiries from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), National Visa Center (NVC), and/or the consulate. This is especially true when an immigrant visa is available (i.e., the priority date is current).

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