U.S. Embassies and Consulates to Resume Routine Visa Services

The U.S. Department of State announced that U.S. embassies and consulates will begin a phased resumption of routine visa services.

The U.S. Department of State announced via Twitter that U.S. embassies and consulates will begin a phased resumption of routine visa services. The exact date or details for each embassy or consulate was not specified, with the State Department advising a routine monitoring of the websites of each embassy or consulate for details specific to that location.

Routine visa services were suspended in March, with embassies and consulates only providing emergency and mission critical visa services as local conditions allowed, according to the State Department’s initial announcement. President Trump’s 22 June immigration proclamation further suspended new H-1B, L-1, H-2B and certain J-1 nonimmigrants and their spouses and children, with limited exceptions. While U.S. passport agencies have begun strategic reopening and the USCIS has resumed some premium processing, this is the first announcement of a phased reopening of visa services despite the remaining visa restrictions in place due to the proclamation.

The dates to resume services will largely depend upon the specific situations and safety measures of each respective country, as some are still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, while others have begun weighing their reopening options. Visa applicants should be mindful of current travel restrictions in place that have been extended to travelers who have been physically present in Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, the U.K., or the Schengen area. Social distancing protocols and backlogs may further delay visa processing.

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How This Impacts Mobility

The travel restrictions as a result of the pandemic and the suspension of visa processing have drastically impeded the ability to conduct business travel or workforce relocations. While the exact reopening plan will depend on each individual U.S embassy or consulate, the proposed resumption of visa processing is one step towards getting employees mobile and back to assignments and transfers. For any questions regarding this issue, please reach out to Vice President, Member Engagement and Public Policy Rebecca Peters, rpeters@worldwideerc.org.

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