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#Coronavirus: Answers to Frequently Asked Question for U.S. Visa Applicants

Last updated on 2 September 2020

In an effort to assist U.S. visa applicants, the U.S. Department of State have put together a list of updated FAQs on U.S. visas as of August 31, 2020.

Q: When will the US Embassy nearest to me resume normal visa processing?

A: US missions will resume routine visa services as local conditions and resources allow. Monitor their websites for information on what services are currently available at that location.

Q: I heard the embassy/consulate is waiting for Washington to tell them to open. Does that mean you know when they will open?

A: We work closely with embassies/consulates to evaluate local conditions. Their websites are the best source of info on what services are available.

Q:  I already have a valid visa/ESTA. Can I travel to the US?

A: Generally, foreign nationals who have a valid travel document (U.S. visa, ESTA, etc.) may travel to a US port of entry. However, entry restrictions may apply.

Q: I want to renew my nonimmigrant visa that expired more than 12 months ago. Do I need to interview?

A: Monitor the US Embassy website for what visa services they are able to provide without interview and how to submit your application remotely.

Q: How are embassies/consulates prioritizing visa applications as they resume routine services?

A: The volume and type of visa cases each post will process will depend on local circumstances. Please see their website for details.

Q: Do Presidential Proclamations still apply, or are those being lifted with resumption of visa service?

A: The 5 geographical Proclamations (PP 9984, 9992, 9993, 9996, 10041) and the 2 Labor Market Proclamations (PP 10014, 10052) are in effect until terminated by the President.

Q: Where do I go to find information about self-isolation and travel restrictions once I am in the United States? 

A: Please refer to the local authorities in your destination(s) for this information.

Q: When will embassies/consulates resume K1 visa processing?  

A: U.S. missions are prioritizing K applications and will resume K processing as soon as local conditions and resources allow. Applicants should check the nearest embassy’s website for updates.

Q: Are K1 visa holders subject to entry restrictions in the Proclamations?

A: K1 visa holders are subject to entry restrictions for those who have been in countries listed here in the past 14 days, unless eligible for a National Interest Exception.

Q: If my I-129F petition has expired, do I need a new one before I have a K visa interview?

A: The I-129F Petition is valid for 4 months; however, consular officers may revalidate the petition in 4 month increments. For most cases it won’t be necessary to file a new petition.

Q: When will you resume processing immediate family member immigrant visas?

A: US citizen spouses (IR/CR1) and children under 21 (IR/CR2, IR/IH3, IR/IH4) applications are considered the highest priority immigrant visa applications as our missions resume visa processing.

Q: When will you resume student visa processing?

A: Student visas are high priority, and we will make every effort to assist students while keeping our staff and customers safe. We are unable to provide a date for when each mission will resume specific visa services.

Q: Do I qualify for a visa appointment if I am a student and my classes start soon?

A: Student applicants who need to travel immediately should follow the guidance provided on their nearest embassy’s website regarding their ability to process routine student applications.

Q: I have an H1B, H2B, J, or L petition. When can I have an interview?

A: Suspension of entry applies to any alien who did not have a valid nonimmigrant visa on June 24, 2020. Those subject to restrictions are not eligible to enter the US, unless eligible for an exception.

Q:  I am in the US on a valid H1B, H2B, L, or J visa but my visa will expire before Dec 31, 2020.  Will I be able to renew my visa?  

A: An H1B, H2B, L, or J visa holder who was physically present in the US on June 24, 2020 is not subject to Proclamation 10052. (1/3)

A: (continued) Should they need to depart the US and apply for a new visa, that Proclamation will not prevent issuance of a new visa if they are otherwise eligible (note Presidential Proclamations based on physical presence in certain foreign areas may still apply). (2/3)
A: (continued) An H1B, H2B, L, or J visa holder who was outside of the United States on June 24, 2020 may continue to travel during the validity of that visa. (3/3)
Q:  I am in the US on a valid H1B, H2B, J, or L visa, and my visa will expire after Dec 31, 2020. Can I renew my visa when it expires?
A: Proclamation 10052 expires on December 31, but may be extended by the President. (1/2)
A: (continued) Should the Proclamation expire on December 31, 2020, this will not prevent issuance of a new visa if the applicant is otherwise eligible after December 31, 2020. (2/2)
Q: I am in the US in status, but my H1B, H2B, J or L visa had already expired prior to June 24, 2020. Can I renew my visa?
A:  An H1B, H2B, L, or J visa holder who was physically present in the US on June 24, 2020 is not subject to the Proclamation. (1/2)
A: (continued) Should they need to depart the United States and apply for a new visa, the Proclamation will not prevent issuance of a new visa if they are otherwise eligible. (2/2)
Q: I am a DV-2020 selectee, but was not able to have my visa interview. Will I be able to schedule a visa interview?
A: Restrictions in Proclamation 10014 and the five regional Proclamations apply to Diversity Visa applicants, with certain exceptions. (1/2)
A: (continued) DV-2020 visas must be issued by September 30, 2020 by law.  Proclamation 10014 will expire on December 31, 2020, unless extended by the President. (2/2)
Q: I am a DV-2021 selectee. When can I schedule a visa interview?
A: Restrictions in Proclamation 10014 and the five regional Proclamations apply to DV applicants. DV-2021 visas must be issued by Sept 30, 2021. Proclamation 10014 will expire on Dec 31, 2020, unless extended.
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