Routine Visa Services & Travel/Entry Restrictions

Updated July 20, 2020

Routine Visa Services

U.S. embassies and consulates will gradually resume routine visa services for students, according to a State Department tweet issued earlier this week. As you know, visa services have been suspended worldwide since March 20 of this year. According to the State Department, each consular post will begin routine visa services on its own timeline, taking into consideration the particular conditions of the host country. Individual U.S. consulate/embassy websites are recommended as the most reliable source for up-to-date information on a particular consulates/embassy’s timeline. 
Appointment availability is likely to remain subject to change based on local country conditions, so further cancellations may still occur in the future. Students should continue to monitor their consulate’s website for the latest information at

Travel & Entry Restrictions

Since January, President Trump issued five COVID-19-related proclamations limiting travel to the U.S. These orders remain in effect since their implementation and to the best of our knowledge have not been revisited. All five proclamations suspend entry into the U.S. of a nonimmigrant (student visa holder) physically present in any of the below listed countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the U.S.

The proclamations are:  

  • China Proclamation – issued January 31, 2020 
  • Iran Proclamation – issued February 29, 2020
  • European Schengen Area Proclamation – issued March 11, 2020 (Schengen area includes: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland). 
  • Ireland and United Kingdom Proclamation – issued March 14, 2020
  • Brazil Proclamation – issued May 24, 2020

Schengen Area, UK and Ireland Exemptions

OIA has learned that the U.S. Department of State may be issuing "national interest exemptions" to the Schengen area proclamation. In connection with the July 13 announcement on the phasing in of routine visa services, the U.S. Department of State further indicated on July 16:

Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas, do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel. Students from those areas who are traveling on a J-1 may contact the nearest embassy or consulate to initiate an exception request.

As indicated, all individuals are reminded that their admission remains subject to a determination by Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry and that they may be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. DHS requires travelers using a NIE waiver to fly into one of 15 specifically designated airports found here.

For more information on all travel/entry restrictions, click here.