Consular Reviewability In Immigration Matters

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The doctrine of consular non-reviewability is generally understood to mean that the decisions made by a consulate officer in regards to an immigration visa are final and immune from judicial review. While deferential, courts have not treated consular non-reviewability as absolute. Consular decisions are reviewable under the “facially legitimate and bona fide reason” standard created under the Supreme Court case, Kleindienst v. Mandel, and some other scenarios.

Some scenarios where courts have reviewed a consular decision include the arbitrary revocation of visas, decisions made with legal or procedural errors, and when the underlying statute governing the consular decision was unconstitutional. Courts have also set the doctrine aside when a consulate does not, or is unreasonably delayed in making, a decision.

Undoubtedly, consular based decisions can be difficult to challenge. However, viable paths exist in some situations and should be considered.