Suspension of Routine Visa Services At U.S. Embassies and Consulates

March 20, 2020

In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of State is temporarily suspending routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates will cancel all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020. They will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. Visit your local U.S. embassy or consulate website to confirm operating status and find information about appointment rescheduling and/or emergency services.

How does this impact my UC Berkeley F or J visa status, or my employment-based visa status?
If you exit the U.S. and you intend to return using your F, J, or employment-based status, you must have a valid U.S. entry visa in order to re-enter the United States. If you depart the U.S. and your current F, J, or employment-based visa stamp is expired, or expires before your return, you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. until you apply for a new visa for re-entry. Due to consular closures, it’s unlikely that you will be able to obtain a new visa in a timely manner. Even if consulates resume normal processing, they are likely to face severe processing backlogs, and we have no ability to predict how long this could delay your return to the U.S.

What if I am considering travel or I am already outside of the U.S.?

If you are considering international travel OR are currently outside of the U.S. and your F, J, or employment-based visa is expired or expires before your return, please contact BIO before finalizing travel plans to make sure you understand the risks. 

If you do make the decision to travel internationally, please carefully review the BIO Travel & Re-Entry page for general information regarding travel and required re-entry documents. As noted above, if your U.S. entry visa is expired, be aware that Applying for a Visa for entry may not be possible at this time, or in the near future.

BIO is committed to supporting our international community during these challenging times, and we will provide additional updates on our COVID-19 Updates & FAQ page as new information unfolds.