In November 2007, the DOS implemented the Petition Information Management Service (PIMS). PIMS is a separate report within the Consolidated Consular Database (CCD) to provide notification of H, L, O, P and Q classification petition approvals as well as additional information about the Petitions, Petitioner and Beneficiary. According to the DOS, PIMS contains a record of all petitions recorded by the DOSEKentucky Consular Center (KCC) approved since 2004. However, the PIMS system does not automatically include petitions where the requested action was a change of status, extension of stay or amended petition.
In March 2008, the DOS in consultation with the USCIS developed a procedure to forward a duplicate petition to the KCC for entry into PIMS upon approval of the petition requesting a change of status, extension of status or amended petition. Prior to a Consulate issuing an H, L, O, P or Q visa, the consulate must verify the approval through the PIM system. If the Consulate can not verify the petition approval through PIMS, the Consulate is required to contact the KCC which will in turn research the approval of the petition and if the KCC is able to confirm the approval of the petition through the USCIS computer system, it will make the details available through the CCD. The DOS has stated that verification through the PIMS system by the KCC should be completed within two working days. However, our office has noticed that verification can sometimes take longer up to three weeks. The public is not able to access the PIMS system or to inquire with the KCC about the petition being contained in the PIMS system prior to attending the nonimmigrant visa interview. The DOS has also stated that it does not plan to provide the public with access to the system or to the KCC in the future.
Within the past few weeks, the USCIS has been enclosing a better with Approval Notices stating that if a duplicate original was not submitted with the original petition, the applicant will need to file a Form I-824 for consular processing to have the information forwarded to the KCC to be inputted into the PIMS system. Additionally, the USCIS National Customer Service Center has been providing similar information. However, the filing of the Form I-824 is optional and not mandatory for consular processing. If the Consulate discovers at or before the nonimmigrant visa interview that the required information is not in the PIMS system, the Consulate will contact the KCC about the approved petition. The Consulate will not then be able to complete the processing of the petition until the required information is entered into the PIMS system. The foreign national will then be instructed by the Consulate that the visa application is undergoing further "administrative processing" and that the foreign national will be contacted when the processing is completed. Foreign nationals may want to ask the consulate official at the interview if the “administrative processingEdelay is due to the fact that the petition approval information is not contained in the PIMS system. Although this will not expedite the processing of the nonimmigrant visa, the foreign national will at least know that the cause of the delay is due to the PIMS system and not some other security background check.