COVID-19 and VISA Services
In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State has temporarily suspended routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. We have canceled all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 18, 2020, but will continue to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services as resources and local conditions allow. We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. Please see these notices which contain detailed information about the current status of visa services worldwide and visa restrictions related to the COVID-19 global pandemic: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-visa-services-and-restrictions.html
Applicants for H1B, H2B, H4, L and certain J categories covered by Presidential Proclamation 10052 should request an appointment only if you have reason to believe you may qualify for one of the exceptions listed in the Proclamation here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-aliens-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-following-coronavirus-outbreak/.
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.
Important Update on Immigrant Visas and Diversity Visas
On June 22, 2020, the President signed a Proclamation which extends the previous Proclamation 10014 and suspends the entry of certain additional foreign nationals to the United States through December 31, 2020. Please read the Proclamation in full for details, including exemptions.
Applicants for immigrant visas covered by the proclamation, including Diversity Visa 2020 (DV-2020) applicants, who have not been issued an immigrant visa as of April 23 are subject to the proclamation’s restrictions unless eligible for an exception. No valid visas will be revoked under this proclamation.
If you were previously issued a visa for the DV-2020 program that was valid on April 23 and that visa expired before you were able to travel to the United States, please contact the Embassy or Consulate where your visa was issued for further information.
All DV-2020 entrants who were selected must be found eligible for, and obtain, their visa or adjust status by September 30, 2020. This deadline cannot be extended. This same strict deadline also applies to spouses and children of principal applicants.
All DV-2021 diversity visa program applicants must be found eligible for, and obtain, their visa or adjust status by the end of fiscal year 2021 (September 30, 2021).
What is a Visa?
A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship.
Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the requirements for visa-free travel. The Visa section of this website is all about U.S. visas for foreign citizens to travel to the United States.
(Note: U.S. citizens don’t need a U.S. visa for travel, but when planning travel abroad may need a visa issued by the embassy of the country they wish to visit.).
Customer Service Statement
The Department of State manages the visa process strictly but fairly in order to best protect the United States. We are committed to the essential openness for which the United States has always been known. Travel to the United States is welcomed and encouraged.
We promise to you, the visa applicant, that:
- We will treat you with dignity and respect, even if we are unable to grant you a visa.
- We will treat you as an individual and your case as unique.
- We will remember that, to you, a visa interview may be a new or intimidating experience and that you may be nervous.
- We will use the limited time available for the interview to get as full a picture as possible of your travel plans and intentions.
- We will use our available resources to fairly assist all applicants to get appointments to allow travel in time for business, study, and other important obligations.
- We will post detailed and accurate information on visa requirements and application procedures on every Embassy and Consulate website.
- We will provide information on non-immigrant appointment waiting times at every Embassy and Consulate posted on http://travel.state.gov.
- We will explain the reason for any visa denial to you.
Furthermore, if you are a:
- Student, we will make every effort to ensure that you get an appointment and, if qualified, a visa in time to start classes.
- Medical and humanitarian emergency traveler, we will expedite processing for those dealing with life threatening emergencies.
- Business traveler, we will establish appropriate mechanisms to facilitate business travel and expedite cases of particular concern to American business.
At the same time, we expect you, the visa applicant, to:
- Plan your travel and visa application as far in advance as possible.
- Complete your application fully and accurately.
- Be forthcoming about your purpose and plans.
- Prepare for your interview by being able to clearly and concisely describe your intentions.