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In March 2020 the Department of State suspended routine visa services worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A U.S. visa must be obtained by any citizen of a foreign country that seeks to enter the United States, this travel document is issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship. Since the halt in visa services, restrictions have continued to gradually ease up.

Towards the tail end of 2022, the Department of State successfully began lowering the visa interview wait times worldwide. The U.S. Foreign Service personnel has doubled to more efficiently recover the worldwide visa operations. These initiatives have allowed for the visa operations to reach pre-pandemic processing levels at a faster rate than originally expected. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Department of State to reduce it’s visa processing capabilities by placing restrictions on the ability to travel to the United States, as well as by placing local restrictions on public places, such as the United States’ overseas consular waiting rooms, which in turn limited the ability to meet with visa applicants.

Visa applicants are required by U.S. law to appear in person , so these restrictions had large impacts on the number of visa applicants that the Department could process. In September of 2022, the Department of State reported that nonimmigrant visa applications were now being processed at 94% of pre-pandemic monthly averages, and that immigrant visa applications were now being processed at at 130% of pre- pandemic monthly averages. From September 2021 to September 2022, the Department of State processed 8 million nonimmigrant visas and are on track to exceed pre-pandemic visa processing capacity.

COVID-19’s impacts will last far beyond the pandemic and when regarding visas, the halt in services led to some positive changes being implemented. Among these being: the in-person interviews for certain visa categories are now waived and applicants renewing nonimmigrant visas in the same classification within 48 months of their prior visas expiration are now eligible to apply without an in-person interview in their country of nationality/residence. As for post-pandemic visa successes: the immigrant visa (IV) backlog has been reduced by 25% as of October 2022, records were set for student and academic exchange visitor visas, pre-pandemic levels of visa processing for seasonal agriculture and nonagricultural workers were exceeded, thousands of crew member visas essential for maintaining the global supply chains were issued, all available E-3 visas in FY 2022 were issued, and 54,334 Diversity Visas were issued during the DV-2022 program year.

While processing speeds have returned, or nearly returned, to pre-pandemic levels, individuals should bear in mind that there is a significant backlog of cases, so actual processing times may still be very lengthy depending on where the individual is applying.

Below is the current state of visa services by country:


  • Routine nonimmigrant visa appointments have resumed
  • National interest exceptions are no longer required to enter the U.S. Immigrant Visa Services


  • Visa services vary by city
  • The U.S. Embassy and consulates in Canada have resumed U.S. citizen services and most nonimmigrant services


  • The U.S. Embassy in Beijing and Consulates Guangzhou and Shenyang have resumed routine consular


  • Consulate General Wuhan is providing limited U.S. citizen services
  • U.S. Consulate Shanghai is only offering emergency services until further notice


  • The U.S. Embassy in Bogotá has resumed routine nonimmigrant and immigrant visa services


  • The U.S. Embassy in Havana has resumed full immigrant visa processing and consular services for the first time since 2017

Dominican Republic

  • The U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo is now interviewing all categories of immigrant visas
  • Limited routine work and student visa services have resumed
  • Embassy has resumed in-person interviews for tourist visa applicants whose interviews were cancelled in March of 2020


  • U.S Consulate in Mumbai has reopened all immigrant visa services
  • Routine nonimmigrant services remain limited at U.S. Embassy New Delhi and Consulates Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai


  • The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta is offering immigrant visa services in all categories
  • The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta and Consulate General Surabaya have resumed limited appointments for all nonimmigrant visa categories


  • Visa services are limited and vary by city
  • Applicants should expect long wait times


  • The U.S. Embassy in Abuja and Consulate General in Lagos are offering limited nonimmigrant and immigrant visa services


  • The U.S. Embassy in Manila has resumed all routine visa services
  • Wait times for interviews are longer than prior to the pandemic, except for immediate relatives
  • For nonimmigrant visas, applicants with urgent travel needs will take priority


  • The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has suspended all immigrant visa services
  • The U.S. Embassy in Warsaw is processing immigrant visas for residents of Russia
  • Visa services at U.S. Consulates in Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok remain suspended due to a lack of staff


  • The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General in Thailand has resumed routine nonimmigrant and

immigrant visa services

  • Applicants are able to renew their visas by mail


  • The U.S. Department of State has suspended consular services at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv due to the Russian invasion
  • Consulate General Frankfurt has been designated as the primary processing location for Ukrainians
  • Those applying for IR-3 or 4 adoption visas should submit their applications at the U.S. Embassy Warsaw

United Kingdom

  • The U.S. Embassy in London and the U.S. consulate in Belfast have resumed routine visa services
  • Appointments remain limited and there is a backlog of applicants


  • The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi has resumed all visa services
  • Nonimmigrant and immigrant visa interviews have slowly started to resume
  • All 221g applicants may go to the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City for interviews on a first come, first serve basis