11 Sep 2023

United States

State Department Announces Trial of Digital Visa Authorization to Replace Traditional Visa Stamp

The United States Department of State (DOS) has announced that its Bureau of Consular Affairs is developing a process to issue a Digital Visa Authorization (DVA) to visa applicants.  The DVA would replace the physical and machine-readable visa stamp that has been traditionally printed and affixed to a visa applicant’s passport.

The DOS will begin issuing DVAs instead of traditional visas on a trial “proof of concept” basis at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, Ireland.  The trial is limited to a small number of K-1 Fiancé(e) visas.  K-1 visas are being used for the trial because K-1 visas are single-entry (i.e., oneuse) visas, and the trial will be limited to K-1 visa applicants who plan to travel directly to the United States from Dublin.

The DOS states that, if this initial trial is successful, its goal is to extend the issuance of DVAs to other visa classes and additional consulates in the future.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) will be notified of the issuance of a DVA, and the USCBP’s Document Validation program will digitally notify an airline that a passenger is utilizing a DVA.  This notification will allow the passenger to board the plane, travel to the United States, and request admission to the U.S.

The potential introduction of the DVA in lieu of a hard copy visa, if implemented and extended to other visa classes would be a major development in the United States visa application and issuance process and, if the trial in Dublin is successful, it is likely that the issuance of hard copy visas in passports will gradually be phased out.

T&S will closely monitor the DVA issuance process and will issue a further alert if the process is extended to other visa categories or consular posts.The DOS announcement may be accessed here:

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