COVID-19 Impacts U.S. Visa Processing and International Travel
Anyone considering going abroad for U.S. visa stamping are strongly advised to check with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for interview appointment cancellations, service limitations and/or closures. As of today, the U.S. Embassies and Consulates in India, Canada, Germany and the U.K. have canceled all visa appointments and more Embassies are expected to follow suit in the coming days. The U.S. Embassy in India posted the following alert: “U.S. Mission India posts, in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, are cancelling immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments from March 16, 2020, onward. Your visa appointment stands as cancelled. Once Mission India resumes regular consular operations, appointments will be made available and you will be able to reschedule.” For further information, visit: https://www.usembassy.gov/ and https://ustraveldocs.com/.
Additionally, anyone considering international travel are strongly advised to check with the country of destination for travel bans and other restrictions. For instance, the Indian government has banned the entry of passengers from EU countries, Turkey and the UK from March 18 through March 31. Even Indian passport holders are not exempted.
Finally, although local USCIS offices remain open for green card interviews and biometrics appointments, service limitations and closures may begin to occur as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.
Travel Ban Updates
On March 14, 2020, the White House issued a Presidential Proclamation (U.K & Ireland), effective March 16, 2020, to suspend and limit the entry into the United States of immigrants and nonimmigrants who have been physically present in the United Kingdom and Ireland during the 14-day period prior to their entry.
This proclamation extends previously announced Schengen Area Travel Ban to immigrants and nonimmigrants from 26 countries in the Schengen area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland).
These European travel bans do not apply to U.S. Citizens, lawful permanent residents (green card holders), and certain family members, e.g. spouses, parents, legal guardians, etc., of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.