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Visa Delay due to PIMS??? What is PIMS anyway?

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(Old data 2011/12 but it might help someone, source online)

Back in November 2007, the U.S. State Department (which governs all U.S. Consulates overseas, and issues U.S. visas), rolled out the “PIMS”-system. (Petition Information Management Service)

The purpose of this system was to manage information regarding petitions filed with USCIS, including scanning, archiving and data retrieval by consular officers, when adjudicating visa applications, based on previously filed USCIS-petitions.

Developed as a more secure form of verification, PIMS enhances fraud detection since the paper USCIS approval notices supplied by visa applicants were subject to fabrication and alteration. Data is entered into PIMS primarily by the State Department’s Kentucky Consular Center (KCC), which is primarily staffed though a contractor, Serco, Inc. A single performance based contract with Serco, Inc. covers both the KCC and the National Visa Center.

The results of other checks, such as fraud, criminal background, and immigration history and status (including SEVIS), may also be included in the PIMS report. A post must confirm a petition approval in PIMS before issuing a visa based on that approval.

It is NOT possible for a petitioner or beneficiary to send a petition directly to KCC for entry into PIMS, as this would circumvent the official inter-agency verification process. The petition copy for PIMS must be first sent to the USCIS Service Center which approved the petition for forwarding to the KCC.

Additionally, KCC cannot be contacted directly to verify the existence of a positive approval record before an interview.

Consular officers, during their review,  must check the Consolidated Consular Database (CCD), to verify the petition’s status in PIMS.  If the consular officer at that time cannot confirm the appropriate petition information in PIMS, the officer must contact KCC by email. At that time, KCC will research to determine if a copy has been received at their location. If not, KCC will then research the approval in USCIS’s CLAIMS3 electronic case system, and if able to confirm approval, the KCC will make the details available through the CCD.

If the approval information is in USCIS’ database, CLAIMS3, the approval information should be inserted into the CCD within 2 working days.

Previously, when the information in CLAIMS3 was incomplete, KCC would contact USCIS and request that the missing information be updated.  Now the procedure has changed because USCIS would take too long to act on behalf of KCC.   Now as long as CLAIMS3 verified approval, the KCC needs no longer wait for USCIS to update CLAIMS3 with additional details and would upload any information from CLAIMS3 into PIMS for use by posts.

Given that the PIMS record may now include incomplete information from CLAIMS3 and no copy of the petition, it is best practice for applicants to attend their visa interviews with the original petition approval notice and a full copy of the petition.  It is the responsibility of consular posts to continue to check the CCD system to determine if the PIMS record has been inserted/updated. Therefore, it is best practice for immigration attorneys to continue to follow up with consular posts to ensure that the consular officers are continually checking the CCD for updates.

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