U.S. Embassy in India cancels appointments, global consular services remain unpredictable

23 Apr 21

UNITED STATES

The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi announced Friday that it would cancel in-person visa appointments and interview-waiver appointments from April 26 to May 9, as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in India.

Key Points:  

  • While the Embassy will cancel most appointments, officials said they would make “every attempt” to honor scheduled emergency appointments. Emergency services for U.S. citizens will also continue.
  • The Embassy said U.S. Consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata continue to offer limited visa services, but may cancel some appointments as required by local COVID-19 conditions.
  • The cancellations are an example of how unpredictable consular services can be during the pandemic. Even before Friday’s announcement, BAL had seen an increasing number of cancellations at U.S. consulates in India. Consulates have also reached out to some applicants instructing them to use the drop box for certain submissions.
  • Globally, consular operations remain limited and conditions change frequently. In addition, regional travel bans remain in place barring entry to most foreign nationals who have been physically present in Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the Schengen Area in the 14 days before entry. Anyone traveling to the U.S. by air must provide documentation of a negative viral COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel or evidence of recovery from a recent COVID-19 infection.

BAL Analysis: U.S. consulates in India and other countries continue to operate at reduced capacity, and applicants should expect significant delays in obtaining visa appointments. Foreign nationals should continue to consult their BAL professional before planning international travel.

While rumors are circulating regarding potential modifications to travel restrictions, and while the transportation industry is advocating for opening travel between the U.S. and the U.K., no definitive information in this regard has been released by the White House, State Department, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The regional COVID-19 restrictions do not have a set expiration date and will remain in effect until President Joe Biden lifts or modifies them.

BAL’s Government Strategies team is hosting a webinar next week on the latest developments in U.S. immigration, including the impact of travel restrictions and consular operations on planning travel and work assignments for foreign national employees. More information on the webinar is available here.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@balglobal.com.

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