The Department of State (DOS) announced a continuing phased resumption of routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services on a post-by-post basis, subject to local conditions, after closings that began in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency made the following points:
- S. embassies and consulates have continued to provide emergency and “mission-critical” visa services since March and will continue to do so. The agency said it cannot provide specific dates for when each mission will resume visa services or return to pre-pandemic processing levels. Each U.S. embassy or consulate’s website provides more detailed information about operating status and current services.
- Posts that process immigrant visa applications will prioritize immediate relative family members of U.S. citizens and certain Special Immigrant Visa applications, among others. Posts processing nonimmigrant visa applications will continue to prioritize travelers with urgent travel needs, foreign diplomats, and certain mission-critical categories of travelers such as those coming to assist with the U.S. response to the pandemic, followed by students (F-1, M-1, and certain J-1) and certain temporary workers.
- Machine-readable visa fee validity has been extended to December 31, 2021, to allow applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment an opportunity to schedule or attend a visa appointment with the fees they already paid.