COVID-19: U.S. Consulates to Gradually Reopen for Visa Services; Presidential Proclamations Will Still Block Many Visa Applicants

Since March 20, 2020, U.S. Consulates abroad have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic for in-person interviews.  This essentially shut down visa processing for those immigrating to unite with their U.S. citizen or permanent resident immediate family members or through their employers or the visa lottery, and for nonimmigrant (temporary) visa applicants.

On July 14, 2020, the State Department announced that U.S. consulates would begin a phased in resumption of services.  Updates about which consulates have reopened and for which services will be posted on the State Department’s website, or on the website for each individual consulate.

Resumption of services is unlikely to be helpful to many, however, since two Presidential Proclamations have suspended entry for the remainder of 2020 of most immigrants, and of many temporary nonimmigrant workers must process their visas abroad and who have yet to be receive them.  While some people whose entry would be barred may be able to apply for a waiver, most individuals will not, and will have to hope that litigation challenging the Presidential Proclamations succeeds.