The US is set to resume visa services soon, a spokesman for the State Department said for ABC News, but it is uncertain when that will be.
“The resumption of routine visa services will occur on a post-by-post basis,” the spokesperson told the media on Monday, “in coordination with the Department’s ‘Diplomacy Strong’ framework for safely returning our workforce to Department facilities,”
Although they are “unable to provide a specific date for when each mission will resume specific visa services,” they said that travellers should look at the websites of the US Embassies and Consulates for country-specific information.
On March 20, visa services at all US diplomatic missions were suspended as the US closed borders in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
And it could still be a while until US visa services are up and running as usual. In mid-March, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued an authorization for US diplomats and their families to return to the US amid the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the diplomatic missions with staffing shortages.
The possibility of the return of visa services comes shortly after several highly-criticized moves by the Trump administration regarding work and study visas.
On Monday, July 6, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced changes to existing and future Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 (student visas), which will force international students to return home if their classes are held online.
“Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.” the announcement read. “The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States.”