The U.S. State Department has rescinded its November 2020 guidance for the prioritization of consular services during the pandemic.

Key Points:

  • Embassies and consulates can now decide how they will prioritize visa appointments and are no longer required to prioritize immigrant visas over nonimmigrant visas.
  • The Bureau of Consular Affairs is focusing on reducing wait times for consular services in all embassies and consulates.
  • Local COVID-19 health restrictions and conditions continue to affect many embassies and consulates throughout the world.

Additional Information: Since November 2020, posts that processed both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas were prioritizing immigrant visa applications. Embassies and consulates around the world can now prioritize visa applications at their discretion dependent on local conditions and restrictions.

BAL Analysis: Embassies and consulates continue to operate at a reduced capacity around the world. Continued visa processing delays are to be expected. BAL will continue to monitor visa processing prioritization updates and will provide more information as it becomes available. Employers and employees should continue to consult their BAL professional before planning international travel.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group. For additional information, please contact
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