On Mar. 20, the U.S. State Department announced the suspension of routine visa services in all countries worldwide.
Just two days before, Mar.18, the Department had announced the suspension of routine visa services in most countries worldwide. Reportedly, that suspension covered all countries for which the Department had issued levels 2, 3, or 4 travel advisories. But the following day, the Department warned U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel, issuing a worldwide level 4 travel alert.
According to the Mar. 20 announcement:
- In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State is temporarily suspending routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates will cancel all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020. As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services. Our overseas missions will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time.
- Services to U.S. citizens continue to be available. More information is available on each Embassy’s website.
- This does not affect the Visa Waiver Program. See https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/faq?focusedTopic=Schengen%20Travel%20Proclamation for more information.
- Although all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments are cancelled, the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee is valid and may be used for a visa appointment in the country where it was purchased within one year of the date of payment.
- Applicants with an urgent matter and need to travel immediately should follow the guidance provided at the Embassy’s website to request an emergency appointment.