The U.S. Department of State announced on March 18, 2020, that it has suspended all routine visa services, including immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments, in most countries worldwide. It is not yet known how long the suspension will remain in effect. Embassies and consulates will continue to provide urgent and emergency visa services as resources allow. Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fees may be applied to a future appointment in the country where it was paid within one year from the date of payment. The suspension of visa services means that visa issuance will likely be postponed unless the embassy or consulate deems the visa issuance an emergency. The suspension does not affect the visa waiver program, the Department of State said.
A number of U.S. embassies and consulates have announced appointment cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of State has compiled a list of country specific information related to the coronavirus on its website.
The suspension of visa processes at embassies and consulates does not impact the ability to apply for extension of visa status for individuals already inside the United States.
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to the policy changes and will post updates on our Immigration blog and in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Critical information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar programs.