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Visa to the USA during a pandemic: where and how to get it

The COVID-19 pandemic continues, and many US embassies in European countries have stopped providing routine visa services, mainly dealing with emergency cases. But in some countries it is still possible to obtain an American visa, albeit with a delay. ForumDaily tells what embassies are in demand among post-Soviet tourists and immigrants who do not issue visas, and where you can still apply for them.

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Beginning November 16, 2020, the US Embassy in Ukraine will not provide services for obtaining nonimmigrant visas (including K visas for brides) in the usual volume. On the official website it is said that the provision of these services will be restored "as soon as possible", but the exact date was not announced. It is also noted there that the paid consular fee remains valid for scheduling a visa interview until December 31, 2021 in the country where it was paid. Those who have an urgent need to visit the United States are offered fill out an application for an appointment for an urgent interview.

The US Department of State website has interview waiting days counter when applying for a visa at different embassies. For all diplomatic institutions in Kiev, it is now 999 days, which, as explained on the website of the State Department, means that the embassy issues only emergency visas.

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As said on Embassy website, the US diplomatic mission in Russia understands that a large number of applicants have already paid the consular fee and are still awaiting an appointment for an interview. Representatives of the diplomatic mission say that they strive to restore the provision of visa services as quickly and safely as possible. The payments (so-called Machine Readable Visa Fees - MRV) have now been extended until December 31, 2021 to enable all applicants who have not been able to schedule an interview due to the suspension of their visa services to sign up for and / or interview using already paid consular fee.

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On the subject: A visa has ended during quarantine: how can tourists extend their stay in the USA


On the the official website noted that the US Embassy in Minsk is still unable to resume normal services for the issuance of nonimmigrant visas - and the specific date is still unknown. It is also noted that any persons awaiting appointment at a consulate who were physically present in the People's Republic of China, with the exception of the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions, or the Islamic Republic of Iran in the past 14 days, have symptoms of a respiratory infection or believe that they may have been exposed to the effects of the novel coronavirus, it is strongly recommended to postpone your appointments for at least 14 days. There is no fee to change an appointment and visa application fees are valid for one year in the country where they were paid.

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The US Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, where Ukrainians and Russians have often traveled for American visas, currently does not issue regular immigration and nonimmigrant visas. The MRV fee is valid and can be used to schedule an interview in the country where it was purchased for up to one year from the date of payment. If you have an urgent question about a nonimmigrant visa and need to hit the road immediately, you need to request an emergency appointment.

Applicants for H1B, H2B, H4, L and certain categories J visas covered by Presidential Decree 10052 should request an appointment only if they have reason to believe they may be eligible for one of the exemptions listed in Proclamations... In addition, applicants in certain categories of visas (business (B1), investors (E), scientists (J - certain categories only), professional athletes (P), and students (F and M) may be eligible for a national interest exemption, which would allow them to travel to the United States Applicants in these categories should carefully read the information provided on this page.

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Where can I get a US visa


Limited operations for the issuance of nonimmigrant visas in US Embassy Warsaw resumed from 20 July 2020. However, a number of restrictions apply to those who wish to apply for a nonimmigrant visa, as well as to those who already have a valid nonimmigrant visa. To determine if these restrictions may apply to you, it is recommended that you visit page with frequently asked questions и Immigrant Visa Information Page on the embassy website. Interview waiting times range from 2 days (student and other nonimmigrant visas) to 99 days - visitor / tourist visa.

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The diplomatic mission extended the MRV payment to December 31, 2021 to allow all applicants who were unable to make an appointment for a visa as a result of the suspension of consular procedures, the opportunity to schedule and / or attend the visa interview with the fee already paid.

Czech Republic

From 15 July 2020 of the year U.S. Embassy Prague renewed the provision of some immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. The indicated preliminary waiting time for the interview is 1 day for a tourist / visitor visa, 1 day for a student visa and 4 days for other nonimmigrant visas, but the embassy warns of possible “significant delays”.

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The embassy website has FAQ sectionwhich is worth checking out for more information.

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U.S. Embassy Tallinn conducts interviews with applicants who are not residents of Estonia, only if there are vacancies. At this time, the wait for interviews for non-residents is approaching 3 months, according to the embassy's website, although the US Consular Service page for this embassy indicates a 4-day wait for all categories of nonimmigrant visas (the wait for Estonian citizens is estimated there).

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As stated on the websites of all embassies, the entry into the United States of foreign nationals who were physically present within 14 days prior to their arrival in the United States in the People's Republic of China (excluding the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao) in the Islamic Republic of Iran, or in 26 countries, within the Schengen Area and the United Kingdom (excluding the Overseas Territories of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland outside Europe) are currently suspended.

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