Department of State (DOS)

Last Updated

September 22, 2021

Topics

  • Travel to the United States on Jan. 26, 2021, and after: DOS, together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced on Jan. 25, 2021, that beginning Jan. 26, 2021, all air travelers to the United States aged two years and older, including United States citizens, must provide proof of a negative COVID test prior to boarding. More information about accessing testing sites and making alternative plans should travelers test positive is available at the site linked above.
  • Presidential Proclamation: See CLINIC's “Presidential Proclamations and Other White House Policies” page. DOS also maintains a page listing all COVID-19-related presidential proclamations currently in effect, here. The page also outlines who might fall into an exception to the restrictions and how to apply for an exception.
  • Visa Services Abroad: U.S. Embassies and Consulates have been in the process of phased resumption of routine services after they were previously suspended due to COVID-19. Check the website of an embassy or consulate for its current operating status. As resources allow, embassies and consulates that have not resumed services will continue to provide urgent and emergency visa services. Additionally, at posts that process both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas, the DOS is prioritizing the processing of immigrant visas in an effort to reduce the backlog of such applications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The DOS is using a tiered approach, detailed at their website here.
  • National Visa Center (NVC): NVC has notified CLINIC that its staffing remains somewhat impacted by COVID-19. Inquiries received via NVC’s online inquiry tool should be answered within 1 to 2 business days. NVC encourages applicants and practitioners to use self-service tools such as CEAC or consult the NVC’s timeframes page. NVC’s call center remains open during its normal business hours of 7 a.m. to midnight ET Monday through Friday.
  • U.S. Citizen Services Abroad: Services to U.S. citizens continue to be available. More information is available on the Embassies' websites.
  • U.S. Passport Services: While U.S. Passport services are active after a period of suspension and phased reopening, in-person services remain extremely limited, with some centers only accepting appointments for life or death emergencies, and others for urgent travel more generally. Applicants need to call for appointments. See the Department of State update from July 2021. The DOS encourages applicants to apply by mail when possible to reduce in-person contact and more recently announced delays associated with passport applications: 18 weeks for routine requests, 12 weeks for expedited requests. DOS states that delays in mail service play a big role in these protracted processing timeframes.

CLINIC Affiliates: If you are a CLINIC Affiliate and need assistance resolving issues in a case, please contact our Training and Legal Support team by submitting a question to Ask the Experts at cliniclegal.org/find-legal-help/ask-experts. If you have exhausted your case resolution options for a pending case you can also contact our Advocacy team at advocacy@cliniclegal.org. You can also contact advocacy if you are encountering issues in your practice that are not addressed by measures taken by federal agencies.