What is PIMS? On November 17, 2007, DOS instructed consular posts that they must verify the details of approved NIV petitions through the Petition Information Management Service (PIMS) via the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD). Consular officers access the details of approved nonimmigrant visa petitions through the CCD in a PIMS report, which links an approved petition to a base petitioner record allowing superior tracking of NIV petitioner and petition information. The electronic PIMS record created by the KCC is the primary source of evidence used by consular officers to determine nonimmigrant visa (NIV) petition approval. In addition to the information submitted by the petitioner on the I-129, many of the PIMS reports also contain information from DOS’ Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU). The FPU performs research on petitioners, and as part of a pilot project, the FPU, on a random basis, verifies factual aspects related to the beneficiaries and their proposed U.S. employment. Click here for additional details about PIMS and practice pointers.

Why is PIMS delaying your visa?
The following is from an exchange between AILA and USCIS during a December 8, 2010 teleconference which addresses the reasons a PIMS check might result in visa issuance delays.

AILA has received several questions respecting the interaction between USCIS Service Centers and the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC):

AILA:  AILA members continue to experience inconsistent treatment where an approved nonimmigrant petition should be sent to the Kentucky Consular Center for overseas processing, particularly involving petitions coupled with requests for change of status or extension of stay. In many instances, petitioners submit two copies of the petition, expecting one full copy to be forwarded to the KCC at the time of petition approval. Rather than requiring petitioners to indicate on the one copy of the petition that it is to be forwarded to the KCC, would SCOPS (USCIS Service Center Operations Directorate) please instruct the service centers to automatically send the extra copy of the petition to the KCC upon approval, and to eliminate the need for the specific request?

USCIS:  If 2 copies of a petition are submitted and the petition requests consular processing, the 2nd copy should be sent via mail to the KCC. If AILA has specific examples where there was a second copy submitted and it was not sent to the KCC, please provide the receipt number.

AILA:  AILA members have recently reported several instances of long delays in getting cases into PIMS – for example, one AILA member has reported a 4 week delay for an H-1B to be processed in Brazil – and occasional failures to transmit all or certain portions of the second copy. This then results in visa issuance delays. Would SCOPS (USCIS Service Center Operations Directorate) perhaps in conjunction with KCC, devise a process or procedure for petitioners to be able to whether and when the second copy has been transmitted to KCC or is in PIMS, and what to do when there are long delays in getting the case into PIMS?

USCIS: As mentioned above, USCIS will send via mail a hard copy of an approved petition. However, it is KCC that uploads and/or data enters petition information into PIMS. SCOPS continues to coordinate with KCC to see what can possibly be done to improve upon the process. If AILA has specific receipt numbers where there was a visa issuance delay due to a communication issue between KCC and USCIS please provide us with receipt numbers as that will assist us in seeing what the issues are.

US Consulates in India to Begin New Online Visa Application Process – February 1, 2010

Courtesy of the India Times:

The applicant would have to fill up visa papers electronically, answer a few questions online and approach the consulate with a print-out of a one-page confirmation with barcode.

The article also provides some interesting statistics:

The number of students from India to the US increased by nine per cent, from 94,563 to 103,260 during 2008-09, Tyler said. China and Korea have the second and third largest students studying in the US, he added.

India is leading for the last eight years in a row, he said, adding that the growth in number of Indian students per year is between five to ten per cent.

The entire article can be found here.