COVID-19: U.S. Travel Advisories and Suspension of Visa Services
As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. and other countries are cautioning against travel, imposing fast-breaking travel restrictions, and cancelling non-essential visa services at consulates abroad. Recent actions are highlighted below.
Travel Advisory – U.S. Citizens
- The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel advisory advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel and recommending that U.S. citizens arrange for immediate return to the U.S. if they are able to do so. The State Department is warning that U.S. citizens who chose to travel internationally may be forced to remain outside of the U.S. indefinitely.
- The State Department has also authorized the departure of U.S. personnel and family members from its diplomatic and consular posts abroad if they are at higher risk if exposed to COVID-19. Departure of personnel may limit the ability of U.S. Embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens who remain abroad.
Suspension of U.S. Visa Services
- With increased travel restrictions, the Department of State also announced that it is suspending routine U.S. visa services in most countries worldwide and cancelling immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments effective March 18, 2020. The Department of State aims to resume visa services as soon as possible, but cannot provide a specific date at this time. Please check the Embassy websites for the status of current operations and for information about the availability of emergency appointments.
Travel to the U.S.
- Earlier this week, the U.S. and Canada announced a mutual agreement to close their shared border to non-essential travel. Official details regarding implementation have not been published as of March 19.
- The Trump Administration has temporarily suspended travel to the U.S. for most foreign nationals traveling from Schengen Area countries in Europe, the U.K. and Ireland, China and Iran. Additional information is available on our Insights We expect more countries to face similar restrictions going forward and it is possible that the U.S. may determine to temporarily close its borders to all foreign national travelers in the near future.
Travel to Countries Outside the U.S.
- Many countries around the world are imposing similar restrictions on admitting foreign travelers. All travelers should check airline carriers, foreign embassy websites and Department of State country-specific travel advisories frequently if travel cannot be avoided.
- For the latest information on conditions in each country, please review the Department of State’s COVID-19 country-specific information and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for risk assessments by country.
Gibney is closely monitoring these developments. Please contact a Gibney representative for additional information.