In early 2020 (March), the Department of State announced a temporary suspension of visa services following the Covid-19 pandemic. The Department of State suspended routine services at all American Embassies and Consulates due to safety and capacity concerns.
Embassies and Consulates are now in a phased return of their visa services. Currently, issuance of mission-critical/emergency visa services is possible. Routine visa services will resume as resources and local conditions allow.
Since the pandemic has affected many aspects of US visa processing, here are the most critical updates to consider if you wish to visit Texas or any other state in the US.
Visa services for US Citizens: Normal visa services are still continuing for US Citizens.
Urgent matters: Visa applicants by individuals with urgent matters necessitating travel should be at par with guidelines offered by the respective American Embassy website. An example of urgent matters that necessitate travel include, but aren't limited to sea and air crew travel, medical personnel travel, and any other travel by individuals working to mitigate/treat COVID-19 effects.
Visa Waiver Program: The updates don't affect individuals who hold visas under the VWP.
H-2 program: The US government is aware of the critical role played by the H-2 program in the economy and ensuring food security in America. For this reason, H-2 related visa cases will continue being processed.
Summary: Are US visas still being processed?
Yes! However, visa processing is being done according to special guidelines discussed above. US nationals can still receive normal visa services. However, foreign nationals must adhere to guidelines as per US embassies or consulates in their respective countries.
FAQs on US Visa Processing
What criteria is in use to establish when routine visa services resume?
The US has been closely monitoring internal conditions of every country with a US embassy or consulate. Local conditions that affect the presumption of various public services include COVID-19 cases, medical infrastructure, the emergency response capabilities in place as well as local government restriction.
I need to travel to the US immediately. What criteria will be used to determine if my situation is an emergency?
Applicants can find detailed instructions on what constitutes an emergency on requesting for an emergency US visa appointment at the respective US Embassy or Consulate's site,
My application fees expired when routine visa services were suspended. What do I do?
The MRV fee stays valid for a year (from the date of payment). The fee can be utilized to set up a visa appointment in the country it was purchased. However, the State Department acknowledges the effect of the pandemic, and many visa applicants who have paid application processing fees are still waiting for a visa appointment.
The State Department is working to restore routine visa operations as fast and safely as possible. What's more, MRV fee validity has been extended to 30th September 2022 to allow visa applicants who wish to schedule visa appointments because of suspension of Embassy or Consulate operations to have an opportunity to reschedule and/or attend an appointment without paying any other fee.