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The U.S. Department of State announced on July 13, 2020, via Twitter, that U.S. embassies and consulates are entering a “phased resumption of routine visa services” beginning July 15, 2020. Visa applicants are encouraged to monitor the respective embassy or consulate websites for additional information on appointment availability, as actual dates will vary depending on local conditions. Due to case backlog, there may be long processing and wait times. Applicants should schedule their visa appointments as soon as they become available.

Depending on availability at the embassy or consulate, some applicants may qualify for an expedited appointment, if they meet certain criteria. The criteria for emergency appointments vary by country, but generally include the following:

  1. Medical Needs: Purpose of travel is to obtain urgent medical care, or to accompany a relative or employer for urgent medical care.
  2. Funeral/Death: Purpose of travel is to attend the funeral of or make arrangements for repatriating the body of an immediate family member in the United States.
  3. Urgent Business Travel: Purpose of travel is to attend to an urgent business matter.
  4. Students or exchange visitors: Purpose of travel is to begin or resume a valid program of study in the United States within 60 days, when no regular visa appointments are available.

This is not an exhaustive list, and other travel restrictions may apply. Applicants should visit the U.S. embassy or consulate website for the specific emergency/expedited appointment criteria for each country before submitting a request. Applicants must be prepared to submit documentary evidence to prove the urgency of their travel. Providing false or incomplete information regarding the reasons for urgent travel might adversely affect the outcome of current and future visa applications.