Information for non-U.S. citizens following the Coronavirus / COVID-19 Outbreak

U.S. Embassy London
Consular Affairs
(UPDATED March 27, 2020 )


Due to the ongoing impact of coronavirus/COVID-19, we ask that you check this information before deciding whether to contact us.

Due to reduced staffing, we will be unable to reply to any questions submitted through our contact forms if they are answered here, so it is vital that you read this information in full.

We understand your concern regarding visas and travel in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19). We hope that this information will help answer your questions.

Can I travel to the United States?/What does the recent travel order mean?

Entry is suspended, per Presidential Proclamation, of non-LPR foreign nationals who were present in the People’s Republic of China, not including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the 26 countries that comprise the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or the Republic of Ireland within 14 days prior to their arrival at the port of entry in the United States.  Please review the Presidential Proclamation for detailed information: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-persons-pose-risk-transmitting-2019-novel-coronavirus/.

The Department of State recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website regarding COVID-19 for the most up-to-date information https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

The latest travel restriction does not apply to American citizens, legal permanent residents, most immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation. The Department of Homeland Security will direct those who have been in the Schengen Area who are exempt from these restrictions, including American citizens, to travel through select airports where the U.S. Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures. Travelers are advised to visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website, www.dhs.gov/news-releases, for further guidance on U.S. travel restrictions.

I think I am exempt from the travel restrictions and have a valid visa/I had a valid registration under ESTA. What should I do?

Information about the status of ESTA registrations at this time is provided through the only official ESTA registration at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/. If your ESTA was cancelled but you believe that you fall under one of the exemptions identified in the Proclamation, please refer to the Travel Proclamation Help on the ESTA website for guidance.

If you believe that the travel restriction does not apply to you, we suggest that you contact your airline for the latest information about your travel plans and any restrictions.

Please also note that admission to the United States is a matter for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Information and contact details can be found on their website at https://www.cbp.gov/. If you have questions after carefully reviewing the Presidential Proclamation, we suggest that you contact CBP directly as the Embassy is unable to provide any additional guidance beyond the information in this email.

If you travel, we suggest that you carry any official original documentation that you have that you believe demonstrates why you are exempt from a travel restriction, such as a Permanent Resident card (commonly known as a Green Card), a marriage certificate or a birth certificate, so that it is available if it is requested for review.

I have a valid C-1/D visa. Can I travel as air or sea crew?

Individuals traveling from or transiting China, Iran, the UK, Ireland, or the 26 countries of the Schengen Area who attempt to enter the U.S. as airline crew are not subject to the travel restrictions in Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993 and the fourth proclamation issued March 14.

The latest updates will be posted on our website at https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/. Please check this website from time to time for updates.   

I believe the travel restriction does not apply to me but I cannot travel using ESTA/I need to apply for a nonimmigrant visa. What should I do?

You may book an appointment to apply for a visa. Please refer to our website at https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas/ for step-by-step information about the application process.

Once you have booked an interview date through the calendar in your Visa Appointment Service account, you can then use the ‘Request Expedite’ feature. You will be asked to briefly outline the reason that you must travel in an emergency. The Nonimmigrant Visa Unit will review your request and reply by email.

Please note, appointment availability is extremely limited and we cannot guarantee that an expedited appointment will be available for you. Expedite requests are generally approved only when there is a humanitarian need for travel, such as for critical medical treatment. Please also be aware that an expedite request relates only to the date of the visa interview. No expedited visa processing is available.   

Will the U.S. Embassy in London be closing?/Will my visa interview appointment be cancelled?

As of March 17, 2020, the United States Embassy in London has cancelled nonimmigrant visa appointments, cancelled immigrant and fiancé(e) visa appointments, and no visa appointments will take place at the Consulate in Belfast. We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time.

Your Visa Appointment Service account will show the current status of your appointment. When new appointment dates are available they will display through your appointment calendar within your account.  

The MRV fee is valid and may be used for a visa application in the country where it was purchased within one year of the date of payment. Please note that visa fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. If you wish to apply for a visa through another Embassy or Consulate, you will be required to pay a new MRV fee and complete a new Form DS-160.     

Please monitor our website at https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/ and the email account you used when registering with the Visa Appointment Service (including any junk or spam folders) for the latest information and any further updates.

What if my fiancé(e) visa petition expires?

If the petition expires before the visa interview, you may revalidate the petition with a letter from the petitioner stating that you both remain legally free to marry and that you will do so within 90 days of your arrival in the United States.

You should take the letter with you to your visa interview.

Will my immigrant or fiancé(e) visa case expire? 

If your application is being processed by the Embassy in London, applicants are given 12 months from the date on which the Embassy’s Immigrant Visa Unit writes to them with instructions about the status of their case in which to apply for the visa.

If the case is being processed by NVC and you have questions after checking the information at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/national-visa-center.html and the CEAC account (if applicable), please contact NVC directly using the contact information on that webpage, which includes an online contact form.

I have already attended my visa interview. What will happen with my visa application that is currently being processed?

If it was not possible for your visa to be issued prior to the Presidential Proclamation taking effect, your passport was returned to you.  Please sign in to your Visa Appointment Service account for delivery tracking information.

If your application is subject to additional administrative processing, or under review pending a decision on a waiver of ineligibility or for any other reason, that will remain the status of your case until you are advised otherwise.   

If information or documentation other than your passport has been requested in connection with a nonimmigrant visa application, you can still send it in. Your case will be reviewed when routine operations resume. However, you should not submit your passport for a nonimmigrant visa case, even if it has been requested from you.   

If any information or documentation has been requested for your immigrant or fiancé(e) visa application, you can still send it in. Your case will be reviewed when routine operations resume.  

If you have any questions about your pending visa application that are not covered here, you can contact us to request clarification after normal operations resume. Please monitor our website for details.

I’m a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and I’m currently outside the United States. What should I do?

As explained above, the travel restriction does not apply to legal permanent residents.

If you are not in possession of your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) and wish to travel to the United States, you may apply for a Transportation Boarding foil in order to facilitate boarding by the airline to transport you back to the U.S.  Please see our website at https://uk.usembassy.gov/lost-or-stolen-green-cards/ for further information about how to apply for a Transportation Boarding foil. 

As you may be aware, if a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) remains outside the U.S. for more than 12 months (or beyond the validity period of a Reentry Permit obtained prior to departing the United States), they lose their entitlement to LPR status. Information about travel and maintaining permanent resident status is provided through the USCIS website: https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/after-green-card-granted/international-travel-a-permanent-resident

I’m in the United States and I’m worried about overstaying my authorized period of admission. What should I do?

If you are in the United States, any questions about your status are a matter for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Information and contact details can be found via their website at www.uscis.gov.

Can my U.S. visa be  extended?

Nonimmigrant visas cannot be extended. However, the majority of nonimmigrant visas are valid for several years. Please check the visa in your passport to confirm the validity period of the visa in your case. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions section of our website at  https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/non-immigrant-visa-faqs/  for more information about visa and passport validity. If you were issued with a J, O or P visa and it expires, check our website at  https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/visa-reissuance-program/who-is-eligible/  to see if you may qualify to apply for a new visa by courier. All other visa applicants aged 14 to 79 inclusive are required to attend a visa interview appointment when reapplying for a visa.

Immigrant visas cannot be extended. However, if you find that you are unable to travel within the validity period of your visa due to circumstances beyond your control, you can request visa reissuance. Please monitor our website for the latest updates. After normal operations have resumed and your unused visa has expired, please reply to this email at that time to request visa reissuance. We will send you information about how to submit your passport, visa package (if applicable) and a letter explaining why you were unable to travel and requesting visa reissuance. Please note that you will be required to undergo a new medical examination and pay a new visa fee before the visa can be reissued. 

Can I have a refund for a U.S. visa that has already been issued?

As explained at the time of fee payment, visa fees are non-refundable. The application fee is levied to cover the costs of adjudicating and processing an application. Please see above for information about visa validity, provided that your new purpose of travel is consistent with the type of visa you hold.

Any other questions

If you have any further questions about visas, please see our website at  https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/, including the Frequently Asked Question (FAQs), for detailed information. If your question is still not answered, please reply to this message. Please note that we will be unable to respond if your question is addressed in this email or on our website.

If your question is about ESTA or the Visa Waiver Program, please note that  those programs  are administered by CBP, not by this office. If you have ESTA questions after checking our website (including the FAQs) and the official ESTA website at  https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/ (including the Help section), you can find additional information and contact details for CBP through their Info Center website at  https://help.cbp.gov.  

If you have general questions about coronavirus (COVID-19), check our website at  https://uk.usembassy.gov/covid-19 for a list of useful resources.  

If you have question about flights, please contact your airline.