[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 211 (Monday, November 2, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 67315-67316]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-27862]

[[Page 67315]]



22 CFR Part 41

[Public Notice: 9336]
RIN 1400-AD84

Visas: Procedures for Issuing Visas

AGENCY: Department of State.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The Department of State is updating its regulations regarding 
nonimmigrant visa format, and records retention procedures. These 
updates reflect changes in technology, including the current practice 
of issuing machine-readable visas and the planned future practice of 
issuing visas electronically. The Department is also removing an 
obsolete records retention provision and a visa review provision, both 
of which are now addressed in the Foreign Affairs Manual.

DATES: This rule is effective November 2, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lauren A. Boquin, Legislation and 
Regulations Division, Visa Services, Department of State, 600 19th St 
NW., Washington, DC 20006, (202) 485-7638.


Why is the Department promulgating this rule?

    Currently, 22 CFR 41.113 provides for the placement of a stamp in a 
visa holder's passport. The Department is amending paragraphs (a) and 
(c) to reflect the current practice of issuing machine-readable visas 
on adhesive foils that are affixed to passports, and the planned future 
practice of issuing such visas as electronic visas. An electronic visas 
is a machine readable tamper-resistant visa format, as required by 8 
U.S.C. 1732, in that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at 
the port of entry are expected to scan the machine readable zone of the 
visa holder's passport to verify the biometrics and identity of the 
individual and to authenticate the visa's validity by accessing 
information stored in the Department's electronic records database.
    Conforming changes and minor nonsubstative edits were made to 
paragraphs (b) and (d) through (h). Paragraph (i) was revised to remove 
visa review and file retention instructions that are internal 
Department procedures addressed in Volume 9 of the Foreign Affairs 
Manual. See http://www.state.gov/m/a/dir/regs/fam/.

Regulatory Findings

Administrative Procedure Act

    This regulation amends certain ``rules of agency organization, 
procedure, or practice'', which are not subject to the notice-and-
comment rulemaking procedures set forth in 5 U.S.C. 553. See 5 U.S.C. 
553(b). Therefore, the Department is issuing this amendment as a final 

Regulatory Flexibility Act/Executive Order 13272: Small Business

    Because this final rule is exempt from notice and comment 
rulemaking under 5 U.S.C. 553, it is exempt from the regulatory 
flexibility analysis requirements set forth by the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 603 and 604). Nonetheless, consistent with 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), the Department 
certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on 
a substantial number of small entities. This regulates individual 
aliens who seek consideration for nonimmigrant visas and does not 
affect any small entities, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6).

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 
1532, generally requires agencies to prepare a statement before 
proposing any rule that may result in an annual expenditure of $100 
million or more by State, local, or tribal governments, or by the 
private sector. This rule will not result in any such expenditure, nor 
will it significantly or uniquely affect small governments.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    This rule is not a major rule as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804. The 
Department is aware of no monetary effect on the economy that would 
result from this rulemaking, nor will there be any increase in costs or 
prices; or any effect on competition, employment, investment, 
productivity, innovation, or the ability of United States-based 
companies to compete with foreign-based companies in domestic and 
import markets.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    The Department of State has reviewed this rule to ensure its 
consistency with the regulatory philosophy and principles set forth in 
Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, and has determined that the benefits 
of this regulation, i.e., ensuring compliance with a Congressional 
mandate, outweigh any cost. The Department does not consider this rule 
to be a economically significant rulemaking action.

Executive Orders 12372 and 13132: Federalism

    This regulation will not have substantial direct effects on the 
States, on the relationship between the national government and the 
States, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government. The rule will not have federalism 
implications warranting the application of Executive Orders 12372 and 

Executive Order 12988: Civil Justice Reform

    The Department has reviewed the regulation in light of sections 
3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 to eliminate ambiguity, 
minimize litigation, establish clear legal standards, and reduce 

Executive Order 13175

    The Department of State has determined that this rulemaking will 
not have tribal implications, will not impose substantial direct 
compliance costs on Indian tribal governments, and will not preempt 
tribal law. Accordingly, the requirements of Executive Order 13175 do 
not apply to this rulemaking.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not impose or revise information collection 
requirements under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 
U.S.C. Chapter 35.

List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 41

    Aliens, Foreign Officials, Immigration, Documentation of 
Nonimmigrants, Passports and Visas.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Department of State 
amends 22 CFR Part 41 as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 41 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 22 U.S.C. 2651a; 8 U.S.C. 1104; 8 U.S.C. 1182(d) ; 8 
U.S.C. 1185 note (section 7209 of Pub. L. 108-458, as amended by 
section 546 of Pub. L. 109-295); 112 Stat. 2681-795.

2. Section 41.113 is revised to read as follows:

Sec.  41.113  Procedures in issuing visas.

    (a) Evidence of visa. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this 
section, a nonimmigrant visa shall be evidenced by a physical visa 
placed in the alien's passport or by an electronic visa located in the 

[[Page 67316]]

records. The appropriate symbol as prescribed in Sec.  41.12, showing 
the classification of the alien, shall be entered on the visa.
    (b) Cases in which a physical visa is not placed in passport. In 
the following cases a physical visa shall be placed on the prescribed 
Form DS-232. In issuing such a visa, a notation shall be made on the 
Form DS-232 on which the visa is placed, specifying the pertinent 
subparagraph of this paragraph under which the action is taken.
    (1) The alien's passport was issued by a government with which the 
United States does not have formal diplomatic relations, unless the 
Department has specifically authorized the placing of the visa in such 
    (2) The passport requirement has been waived; or
    (3) In other cases as authorized by the Department.
    (c) Visa format. A machine-readable visa shall be in the format 
designated by the Department, and contain, at a minimum, the following 
    (1) Full name of the applicant;
    (2) Visa type/class;
    (3) Location of the visa issuing office;
    (4) Passport number;
    (5) Sex;
    (6) Date of birth;
    (7) Nationality;
    (8) Number of applications for admission authorized, or the letter 
``M'' for multiple applications for admission authorized;
    (9) Date of issuance;
    (10) Date of expiration;
    (11) Visa control number.
    (d) Insertion of name, petition, and derivative status notation. 
(1) The surname and given name of the visa recipient shall be shown on 
the visa in the space provided.
    (2) If the visa is being issued upon the basis of a petition 
approved by the Secretary of Homeland Security, the number of the 
petition, if any, the period for which the 'alien's admission has been 
authorized, and the name of the petitioner shall be reflected in the 
annotation field on the visa.
    (3) In the case of an alien who derives status from a principal 
alien, the name of the principal alien and of the petitioner shall be 
reflected in the annotation field of the visa.
    (e) Period of validity. If a nonimmigrant visa is issued for an 
unlimited number of applications for admission within the period of 
validity, the letter ``M'' shall be shown under the word ``entries''. 
Otherwise the number of permitted applications for admission shall be 
identified numerically. The date of issuance and the date of expiration 
of the visa shall be shown at the appropriate places in the visa by 
day, month, and year in that order. The standard three letter 
abbreviation for the month shall be used in all cases.
    (f) Restriction to specified port(s) of entry. If a nonimmigrant 
visa is valid for admission only at one or more specified ports of 
entry, the names of those ports shall be entered in the annotation 
field. In cases where there is insufficient room to list the port(s) of 
entry, they shall be listed by hand on a clean passport page. Reference 
shall be made in the visa's annotation field citing the passport page 
upon which the port(s) of entry are listed.
    (g) Delivery of visa. In issuing a nonimmigrant visa, the consular 
officer should deliver the passport containing the visa, or the 
prescribed Form DS-232 which bears the visa, to the alien or to the 
alien's authorized representative. Any relevant evidence furnished by 
the alien in accordance with Sec.  41.103(b) should be retained, as 
required or necessary.
    (h) Disposition of supporting documents. Original supporting 
documents furnished by the alien should be returned for presentation, 
if necessary, to the immigration authorities at the port of entry. 
Duplicate copies may be retained in the consular system, as required or 
    (i) Review of nonimmigrant visa issuances. Nonimmigrant visa 
issuances must be reviewed, in accordance with guidance by the 
Secretary of State, by consular supervisors, or a designated alternate, 
to ensure compliance with applicable laws and procedures.

    Dated: September 9, 2015.
Michele T. Bond,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. 2015-27862 Filed 10-30-15; 8:45 am]