On April 27, 2021, the Department of State (DOS) announced national interest exceptions to all regional travel restrictions currently in effect as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DOS said that students seeking to start studies in the fall, certain academics, journalists, and individuals who provide critical infrastructure support in countries affected by a geographic COVID-19 restriction may now qualify for a national interest exception. This includes qualified applicants who have been in Brazil, China, Iran, or South Africa.

DOS also said that the pandemic “continues to limit the number of visas our embassies and consulates abroad are able to process,” and that visa applicants should check the website of their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for the latest information about visa appointment availability.

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