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DOS announces gradual resumption of routine visa services

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Gradual resumption of routine visa services

  • The State Department suspended routine visa services worldwide in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As global conditions evolve, U.S. embassies and consulates begin a gradual resumption of routine visa services.
  • The resumption of routine visa services will take place post-by-post, in coordination with the Department’s strong Diplomacy Framework to safely return our workforce to the Department’s facilities. U.S. embassies and consulates have continued to provide emergency visa and mission-critical services since March and will continue to do so as they can. As post-specific conditions improve, our missions will begin to provide additional services, which will eventually culminate in the full resumption of routine visa services.
  • We cannot provide a specific date for when each mission will resume specific visa services, or when each mission will be reprocessed to pre-Covid-19 workload levels. Visit the website of each U.S. embassy or consulate. For information about the operational status and services it currently offers.
  • Our overseas missions continue to provide all possible services to U.S. citizens. More information is available on the website of each publication.
  • This does not affect travel under the Visa Waiver Program. See https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/faq?focusedTopic=Schengen%20Travel%20Proclamation for more information.
  • Applicants with an urgent matter who need to travel immediately should follow the guidance provided on the website of their nearest embassy or consulate to request an emergency appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. What additional visa services are starting to be provided by embassies/consulates?

  • All of our missions continue to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services. As post-specific conditions permit, our missions will begin to process some cases of routine immigrant and non-immigrant visas, for example: travellers with urgent travel needs; students (F-1, M-1 and certain J-1); and some family members of U.S. citizens pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 10014. We hope that the volume and type of visa cases that each publication processes depend on local circumstances. An embassy or consulate will resume the award of all cases of routine non-immigrant and immigrant visas only when adequate resources are available and it is safe to do so.

Q. What criteria do missions use to determine when to resume routine services?

  • We are closely monitoring local conditions in every country where we have a presence in the United States. Local conditions that can affect when we can begin to provide various utilities include medical infrastructure, COVID-19 cases, emergency response capabilities, and restrictions on leaving home.

Q. What steps are being taken to protect customers from COVID-19 propagation?

  • The health and safety of our workforce and customers will remain paramount. Our embassies and consulates are implementing safeguards to keep staff and customers safe, including implementing physical estrangement in our waiting rooms, scheduling fewer interviews at once, frequent disinfection of high-contact areas, and compliance with local health and safety regulations.

Q. Are the various Presidential Proclamations/Travel Restrictions still being applied, or are they being lifted with the resumption of visa services

  • The five COVID-19 Geographical Proclamations (PP 9984, 9992, 9993, 9996, 10041) and the two COVID-19 Labour Market Proclamations that suspend the entry of certain foreigners (PP 10014 and 10052) remain in force.

Q: Is my situation an emergency? I need to go to the United States right away on X.

  • Applicants can find instructions on how to apply for an emergency visa appointment on the Embassy or Consulate website.

Q. What about my MRV rate that expired while routine services were suspended?

  • The Mechanical Reading Visa (MRV) rate is valid and can be used to schedule a visa appointment in the country where it was purchased within one year from the date of payment.

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