Urgent information for visa applicants regarding COVID-19 pandemic and associated visa and travel suspensions
21 July 2020
The United States Department of State recognizes the immense importance of international travel and commerce to the United States. Our country’s openness is a source of national strength and it is in our direct interest to maintain our free and unfettered engagement with the world.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has required unprecedented actions to protect the United States and its citizens. Visas and entry to the United States for persons who have been in a Schengen country within fourteen days of intended entry are suspended by Presidential Proclamation (PP 9993). Presidential Proclamation 9993 remains in force. In addition, PP 10052, suspends the entry of nonimmigrants traveling on work visas in the H, L, and certain J visa categories as well as most immigrant visas. When these suspensions are lifted, we will resume routine visa services as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there is no information at this time as to when these measures will be lifted.
The Proclamations and their exceptions can be found at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news.html
There are limited exceptions to the proclamations. In mid-July 2020, the Department announced that certain business travelers, investors, treaty traders, academics (professors, research scholars, short term scholars, or specialists), and students may qualify for national interest exceptions (NIE). The Embassy will resume visa processing for these categories shortly.
Applicants in these categories may schedule an appointment following the guidance on the scheduling website. Au pair, Intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor or summer work travel program J visa applicants are not being processed at this time except in limited cases as travel under those categories remain restricted.
There are other limited exceptions to the restrictions on travel. These include travel on ESTA for dire humanitarian situations and travel on ESTA or a visa providing substantial economic benefit to the United States economy. The bar for qualifying as travel providing substantial economic benefit will be very high.
Intending French citizen and French resident travelers who believe they qualify for an NIE should send an email to***@******.*** with the subject line: “CONSIDERATION FOR NATIONAL INTEREST EXCEPTION – [Last Name]”. Emails should include scans of the biodata passport page of all intending travelers, and scans of any valid United States visas for all travelers.
For consideration of an exception for ESTA travel as providing substantial economic benefit, intending travelers need to include documentation from a United States entity (client, vendor, affiliate, etc.) describing the intended activity of the traveler and its link to a quantified economic benefit.
Applicants with questions about visa applications currently in process with the Embassy may send their inquiry via***@******.*** for Immigrant visa applications or***@******.*** for Nonimmigrant visa applications.
The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.
See our Directory of Visa Categories on usvisas.state.gov to determine which visa category might be appropriate for your purpose of travel to the United States.