'US suspending visa services worldwide due to coronavirus' | The Daily Star
10:57 AM, March 19, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:05 PM, March 19, 2020

'US suspending visa services worldwide due to coronavirus'

The United States is suspending all routine visa services as of Wednesday in most countries worldwide due to the coronavirus outbreak, a spokeswoman for the State Department said, an unprecedented move that will potentially impact hundreds of thousands of people.

The department did not say which or how many countries are halting services but US missions in more than half a dozen countries including South Korea, South Africa, Germany and Spain on their web sites announced that they were either stopping or significantly reducing services.

For all latest news, follow The Daily Star's Google News channel.

"Embassies and consulates in these countries will cancel all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 18, 2020," the spokeswoman said.

The State Department spokeswoman said US missions abroad will continue to provide emergency visa services "as resources allow," and that the services to US citizens will remain available.

"These Embassies will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time," she said. There were no mentions of exceptions for any visa types.

In 2019, the United States has issued a total of more than 9.2 million immigrant and non-immigrant visas at its more than 160 foreign missions across the globe.

The coronavirus, which emerged in China late last year, has now infected over 212,000 people and caused 8,700 deaths in 164 nations, triggering emergency lockdowns and injections of cash unseen since World War Two.

Normal life has come to a standstill pretty much across the globe with schools shut down, flights and industries halted, sports and arts events postponed and people are advised or at times forced by their governments to remain indoors to prevent the spread.

Overnight, the US Embassy in South Korea in its own statement said the suspension would affect both immigrant and non-immigrant visa services at embassies in countries with a US State Department travel advisory level of 2, 3, or 4.

As of Wednesday that includes around 100 countries for which warnings have been issued, according to the US State Department website. Reasons for those warnings range from outbreaks of the new coronavirus to war to crime.

The spokeswoman said the move would not affect the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which enables most citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.

Related Topics

Stay updated on the go with The Daily Star Android & iOS News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Grameenphone:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 22222

Robi:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2222


Banglalink:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2225

Leave your comments

Top News

Top News

Top