Current Issues with International Travel

Last Updated

August 25, 2020

Since March 2020, international travel and the issuance of certain types of visas have been halted in various ways.

Presidential Proclamations on Visa Issuance:

On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation which extended his April 22, 2020, proclamation through Dec. 31, 2020. These proclamations suspended visa issuance to those individuals who:

  • are outside the United States as of the effective date of the order;
  • do not currently have a visa for entrance as a permanent resident as of that same date; and
  • do not have a travel document other than a visa.

This new proclamation also suspended the nonimmigrant (temporary) visa categories of H-1B, H-2B, J and L. The proclamations do not affect the nonimmigrant visa categories of B1/B2 Visitors, F-1 Students or R-1 Religious Workers. It does not halt the permanent residence process for those already in the United States who are adjusting their status to permanent resident within the United States. This does prevent religious workers who are outside the United States from applying for permanent residence through consular processing.

Presidential Proclamations on Travel Restrictions:

Based on Presidential Proclamations, foreign nationals cannot enter the United States within 14 days of being in the following countries:

  • China
  • Iran
  • European Schengen Area
  • United Kingdom
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Brazil

In addition, travel over the border from Canada or Mexico is currently limited to only “essential travel” through Sept. 21, 2020. Examples of essential travel are U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents, individuals traveling for medical purposes, students traveling to attend educational institutions, individuals traveling to conduct essential work, those traveling for emergency response and public health purposes, trade, official government/diplomatic travel, and members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

For the most up-to-date list, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Visa Interviews Reopening:

U.S. Embassies/Consulates abroad have not been conducting routine visa appointments since March 20, 2020. As of July 15, the Department of State announced that they were going to reopen routine visa interviews on a post-by-post basis; depending on the conditions of the country each U.S. Embassy/Consulate is located in. If you or your religious worker needs to apply for a visa (not restricted by the proclamations above), please check the website of the Embassy/Consulate for the most up-to-date information.

We are continuing to monitor international travel during the pandemic. If you have any questions about how these restrictions apply to you or your religious worker, please contact your RIS Attorney or call our main line at (301) 565-4832 or email us at