Updates on Reopening of Routine U.S. Visa Services

July 28, 2020

As reported last week, the DOS announced initial plans to resume routine visa services at U.S. embassies and consulates following months-long closures. The DOS indicated the resumption will happen on a post-by-post basis, following review of local conditions, staffing capacity, and other considerations.

 

Since the DOS’ announcement, a number of posts have indicated resuming applications primarily for F, M, and J visa applicants, with warnings that visa applicants will likely be facing significantly increased wait times due to substantial backlogs. At this time, we do not anticipate immediate availability of routine visa appointments for H-1B, L-1, or J-1 applicants, unless the individual meets one of the exemptions under the recent Proclamation suspending the issuance of new H, L, and J visas through the end of the calendar year. We have summarized the reopening status of certain key posts below:

 

  • Australia: Sydney and Perth are resuming limited nonimmigrant and immigrant visa services, including F-1 students. Melbourne remains closed at this time.

  • Canada: All consular posts in Canada remain closed at this time, with no specific date yet offered on reopening. Applicants who qualify for an exemption under Presidential Proclamation 10052 may request an appointment.

  • China: Emergency appointments can be booked for those who qualify. The U.S. Consulate in Chengdu is closed indefinitely.

  • India: All consular posts in India remain closed at this time, with no specific date yet offered on reopening.

  • Singapore: Services for F, M, J, limited E, I, O, and P nonimmigrant visa applications are beginning to resume.

  • United Kingdom: London and Belfast are resuming limited services for F-1 and M-1 students, as well as immigrant visas for spouses and children of U.S. citizens.

 

For ongoing updates on the reopening status of consular posts worldwide, please see our U.S. Visa Services tracker. Please note that, while we will be updating this tracker as we receive information about local post reopenings, the resumption of routine visa services is highly dynamic and ongoing, so we cannot guarantee accuracy and completeness given the rapidly changing circumstances of each individual post.  

 

We continue to strongly advise clients not to pursue international travel without consulting our office, as ability to enter or reenter the United States is subject to additional factors such as airline regulations, travel bans, and restrictions under the Trump Administration’s recent Presidential Proclamations.

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