9 FAM 602
Cultivating Visa-Related Working Relationships

9 FAM 602.1

Visa Contacts

(CT:VISA-1724;   03-06-2023)
(Office of Origin: CA/VO)

9 fam 602.1-1  general guidance on visa contacts

(CT:VISA-1724;   03-06-2023)

a. Building Teamwork and Contacts: 

(1)  See 9 FAM 602.2 on working with DHS and other U.S. Government contacts.  7 FAH-1 H-252 addresses teamwork with post’s Front Office, the Country Team, and the Department, as well as teamwork within the consular section. 

(2)  Cultivating effective professional contacts with foreign government officials and key members of the local community is equally important to your success.  See additional information on visa reciprocity in 9 FAM 403.87 FAH-1 H-253 provides additional information on external contacts with foreign government officials, private sector contacts, the local American community and local U.S. military bases.

b. National Security – Coordination and Cooperation:  You must cooperate with other offices and agencies of the mission or post to ensure the greatest effectiveness in promoting national security and ensuring only bona fide applicants receive visas.  Refer to 7 FAH-1 H-226 for information on national security coordination and cooperation.  See also information on the Visas Viper program in 9 FAM 304.4-4.

c.  Additional Resources:  See 9 FAM 601.8 for information on handling referrals from representatives of other U.S. Government entities overseas.  9 FAM 603.1 addresses protecting and sharing visa information and records, and 9 FAM 601.7 covers correspondence with various types of parties.  See also 9 FAM 601.9 on public diplomacy and outreach to visa-related contacts.

9 fam 602.1-2  guidance on specific types of visa contacts

(CT:VISA-1724;   03-06-2023) 

a. Congress and Congressional Staff, Proactive Congressional Relations:  For information on Congressional contacts see 7 FAH-1 H-843.  See 9 FAM 601.7-3 for additional information on Congressional correspondence, and 9 FAM 601.9 on outreach and Congressional offices. 

b. Attorneys and Representatives of Record:  Each consular section may establish its own policies regarding attorneys' physical access to the consular section and visa interviews.  You should consider such factors as physical layout, space limitations and special security concerns when establishing this policy.   Whatever policies are set must be consistent and applied equally, either all attorneys at post must be permitted to attend consular interviews or none can.  The sole exception is Afghan and Iraqi SQ and SI-SIVs, who may be represented during the visa interview pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2014.  See 9 FAM 601.7-3 for additional information on corresponding with attorneys and establishing attorneys as applicants’ representatives of record.  Refer to 9 FAM 502.5-12(B) paragraph b(8) for guidance pertaining to representation allowed for SQ and SI-SIV applicants. 

c.  Media Contacts:  See 9 FAM 601.7-3 regarding correspondence based on media inquiries.  See also 9 FAM 601.9 regarding visa-related public diplomacy and outreach.

d. Unethical Conduct:  See 9 FAM 602.1-3 below for information on unethical conduct by intermediaries.

9 FAM 602.1-3  unethical conduct by intermediaries

(CT:VISA-1724;   03-06-2023)

a. Attorneys and Intermediaries Based in the United States:  When you believe an attorney or other U.S.-based intermediary has behaved unethically or there is another good reason to do so, you may limit or even eliminate that individual’s access to the visa section and authority to correspond on the applicant’s behalf.  Such decisions should be reported via cable slugged for "CA/VO; CA/FPP; L/CA."  The cable must contain the reasons for denial of privileges and the proposed reply to the attorney or U.S.-based representative, for the Department's review.  In addition, if the individual has previously been the subject of a communication from the Department regarding unethical or fraudulent activity, you must cite the previous communication.

b. Intermediaries Other than Attorneys and U.S. Agents:  When you believe that an intermediary, such as a travel agent or consultant, has behaved unethically or engaged in visa fraud, you may limit or eliminate that individual’s access to the visa section and authority to correspond on the applicant’s behalf.  You must report such decisions to the Department with an explanation.  The report should be via a cable slugged for "CA/VO and CA/FPP."    

c.  Abusive Use of Visa Information:  See also 9 FAM 603.2-7 on abusive use of post-supplied information by local authorities and the release of information in violation of U.S. law.