COVID-19 Travel Restrictions and Exceptions
To reduce introduction and spread of new variants of SARS-CoV-2, CDC issued an Order effective January 26, 2021. It requires all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country to get tested for COVID-19 infection no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. For more information on this testing requirement, see the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions.
Additionally, to protect the public health, there are four presidential proclamations that suspend entry into the United States of all noncitizens who were physically present in any of 33 countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. They are Presidential Proclamation 9984 (China); Presidential Proclamation 9992 (Iran); Presidential Proclamation 10143 (Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa); and Presidential Proclamation 10199 (India). For a full description of these Presidential Proclamations and potential exceptions to them, please visit Travel.state.gov.
COVID-19 and VISA Services
We are only accepting applications from residents of Zimbabwe at this time. Non-resident applicants cannot currently apply for a U.S. visa in Zimbabwe and should reach out to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate closest to their place of habitual residence resumes visa services.
The pandemic continues to severely impact the number of visas we are able to process. We are making significant efforts with constrained resources to safely process visa applicants. The health and safety of our workforce and applicants remains paramount. We are implementing safeguards to keep staff and applicants safe, including mandating physical distancing in our waiting rooms, scheduling fewer interviews at a time, and following local health and safety regulations. Additionally, we remain on a limited staffing posture due to the pandemic. These necessary measures have temporarily reduced our visa processing capacity, requiring us to prioritize the most urgent and mission-critical cases. Applicants should expect very delayed response times and slow processing times.
As conditions related to Covid-19 allow, the U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe has begun offering limited routine visa interviews to residents of Zimbabwe. Please check for open appointments at the Visas webpage of the U.S. Embassy in Harare. We interview for Nonimmigrant Visas on Mondays and Wednesdays.
If you are not able to find an open appointment and your case is a life-or-death emergency, please email ConsularHarare@state.gov and we will try to schedule an appointment. Due to the volume of requests, if you do not receive a response from us, it is because your case does not meet the requirements for an emergency expedited appointment.
Additionally, the U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe has resumed limited processing of visas that are eligible for a waiver of the in-person interview requirement.
In order to qualify for a waiver of the in-person interview, the following must be true:
- I have a previous U.S. visa in the same class as the visa I am renewing.
- I regularly reside in Zimbabwe.
- The visa I am renewing has been expired for less than 24 months.
- The visa I am renewing was not lost, stolen, or cancelled.
- I have not been refused a visa in the past, or since a past refusal I have been issued a visa in the class I am renewing.
- If I am applying for an F visa, I am continuing as student at the same school or in the same major for which my previous visa was issued.
- If I am renewing a C1 or D visa, I have a current employment letter.
Procedures If You Are Eligible for Interview Waiver Non-Immigrant Visa Renewal
The U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe is no longer individually scheduling eligible renewal applicants by email. Instead, on Monday afternoons from 1:30PM to 2:30PM, the Embassy will allow the first 15 interview-waiver applicants who are in line to enter the Consular section to drop off their documents for renewal. Applicants will be given a unique ticket to hold their place in line. Applicants can collect a line ticket on the Monday they will drop off their documents. To be allowed in line and into the Consular section for interview waiver renewal, applicants will need to appear in person with a valid passport matching their face and name and a DS-160 (Non-immigrant Visa Application) confirmation page matching the name and picture in the passport.
Applicants who do not meet ALL of the requirements above will be turned away from the waiting room and will be told to follow the normal procedures described above for reserving a non-immigrant visa interview.
Applicants are responsible for knowing what supporting documents they need, such as how much money they’ll need to pay, what type of photo is needed, and all other required supporting documents for their visa class. Requirements for all visa classes can be reviewed at the U.S. Visas page of Travel.state.gov.
Applicants who have already been scheduled by email to drop off their documents for interview waiver renewal can still come to the embassy at their scheduled time.
Payment of visa fees can be made only in USD cash.
Interview waiver cases are randomly selected for interview.
Visas that are approved are typically ready in two to three business days.
The issuance of a visa is never guaranteed, and we urge applicants to not make travel reservations until they have received a visa.
Because of limited staffing and other safety precautions due to COVID-19, applicants should expect delays in appointment availability and processing time on the day of their appointment.
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?
Presidential Proclamation (P.P.) 10014, entitled “Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak,” was rescinded on February 24, 2021.
Instructions for Immigrant Visa Applicants
Not Yet Interviewed: Immigrant visa applicants who have not yet been interviewed or scheduled for an interview will have their applications processed according to our existing phased resumption of visa services framework.
Previously Refused: Immigrant visa applicants whose petitions remain valid and who were previously interviewed but refused visas due to P.P. 10014 should wait for instructions from the U.S. embassy or consulate where they were interviewed. The Department of State will reconsider cases that were previously refused because of P.P. 10014 and will inform applicants if additional information is needed.
Diversity Visa 2020 Applicants: Those holding diversity visas issued in 2020 that are still valid may seek entry to the United States immediately, despite the visa annotation, “Entry Subject to PP 10014.” Individuals whose DV-2020 visas have expired may not be issued replacement visas; however, individuals who received diversity visas in 2020 as a result of orders in the court case Gomez v. Trump may travel to the United States on an expired visa as the court ordered the government to treat these visas as though they were issued on the date P.P. 10014 was rescinded. The court did not specify for how long the visas would be considered valid. Additionally, it may be possible that the court order could be changed or modified in some important respect. Therefore, applicants wishing to benefit from the order are encouraged to travel as soon as practicable as the order could change.
The Secretary of State has granted a national interest exception for Diversity Visa (DV) applicants for the 2020 fiscal year (DV-2020) who hold a valid immigrant visa and are subject to the geographic COVID-19 Presidential Proclamations. In addition, diversity visa applicants for DV-2020 who were not issued visas before September 30, 2020 for any reason including P.P. 10014 will not be interviewed, scheduled, or reconsidered for visas, as those applicants were only eligible for issuance of a visa through the end of the 2020 fiscal year, which ended on September 30, 2020.
Diversity Visa 2021 Applicants: DV applicants for the 2021 fiscal year (DV-2021) should wait to be notified of the scheduling of an interview in accordance with the phased resumption of visa services framework.
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.