Updated Status of Visa Services at U.S. Consular Posts14 Apr 2021
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the availability of visa services at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad remains limited. The severity of backlogs in visa interviews varies based on epidemic control protocols of each country. U.S. embassies and consulates are taking the necessary precautions to protect their staff and the public.
Priority for U.S. Citizens, Diplomats and Medical / Food Industries
Currently, U.S. embassies and consulates continue to prioritize petitions from U.S. citizens for their immediate relatives and other family members. Others given priority include, but are not limited to, foreign diplomats and certain mission critical workers in the medical or food industry.
Routine Visa Services and Wait Time Tracking
Routine visa services are being phased in on a post-by-post basis. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) offers an online tool to track the current wait time for an interview for nonimmigrant visa applicants. Estimated wait times may change depending on the health situation in the particular country and the staff capacity of each U.S. embassy or consulate.
Expedited Processing in Limited Circumstances
One may request an expedited interview appointment based on an urgent need. Acceptable reasons for an expedited appointment include medical needs (e.g., to obtain urgent medical care), attending a funeral, urgent business travel, or to begin or resume a valid program of study.
To be eligible for expedited visa processing, a visa applicant must complete and submit the online visa application form (DS-160) with the application fee. Evidentiary documents will be required to demonstrate the necessity for the expedited interview appointment. If the expedite visa appointment is granted and, during the interview, the consular officer determines that the visa applicant misrepresented the need for urgent travel, it likely would have a negative impact the outcome of the visa application.
With increased vaccination production and administration, the hope is that the threat of the pandemic will subside, allowing global travel to fully resume. For the time being, foreign nationals must recognize that visa appointments are limited and must plan accordingly.
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