Slowly, U.S. embassies and consulates abroad are working toward resumption of routine visa services as local conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic improve. With opportunities to secure visa appointments increasing, applicants should consider these tips when seeking visa appointments.
- The availability of consular services varies from post to post. While many consular posts are beginning to offer and expand routine visa services, some posts remain fully or partially closed. Check the availability of routine visa services on the webpage of the post where you intend to apply as they may be impacted by COVID-19 prevalence, local outbreaks, and vaccination rates.
- Consular procedures vary post to post. Applicants should review local consular procedures posted on the post’s website when scheduling a visa appointment.
- Expect longer than normal wait times for nonimmigrant visas. Temporary work, travel, study, medical treatment, business, journalism, arts, and sports ordinarily require a nonimmigrant visa to enter the U.S. The Biden administration will be lifting COVID-19 related travel bans for fully vaccinated individuals starting November. Advance travel planning and applying for the visa as early as possible is critical to ensuring a smooth visa application process. Check current wait times for nonimmigrant visa appointments using the following U.S. Department of State tool.
- Many consular posts are adopting tiered approaches to triage immigrant visa applications. These categories include immediate relative intercountry adoption visas, age-out visa cases, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) cases, immediate relative visas, fiancé(e) visas, returning resident visas, family preference immigrant visas, employment preference and diversity visas. Check the website of the consular post where you plan to apply or contact a WR Immigration attorney to learn more about consular processing of immigrant visa applications.
- Appointments may be refused for those who have recently traveled. U.S. embassies and consulates continue to follow procedures that prioritize the health and safety. Certain visa applicants who have traveled internationally before their appointment date may be required to reschedule their appointment.
- Visa applications can be submitted at drop box locations at certain posts. Some consular posts accept a limited number of drop box applications for H, L, C1/D, O, I, F, M, and J visas. Most personal appearance waivers are for visa renewals, but all applicants should inquire if the post is accepting drop box applications for first-time applicants
- Third-country visa applicants may not be permitted. Most posts are only allowing applicants with local resident status in the country to apply for visas.
With a highly complex framework that varies from post to post, applicants should contact their WR Immigration attorney. WR Immigration provides strategic global immigration services and client-focused solutions, including assistance at consular posts worldwide.