U.S. Visa and Travel FAQs

If the service you need is not available, or if your travel plans are further in the future, keep checking this page regularly as this is where we will share updates. We can’t provide personalized answers by email, social media, or telephone about topics that are covered here.

Updated: November 23, 2020 at 09:00 BST.

Please carefully review this page for important information about U.S. travel restrictions and U.S. visa services in the UK. This page is divided into three sections:
SECTION 1: Presidential Proclamation & U.S. Travel Restrictions
SECTION 2: Nonimmigrant Visa Appointment Status & FAQs
SECTION 3: Immigrant and Fiancé(e) Visa Appointment Status & FAQs
SECTION 4: Visa Holder & LPR Appointment Status & FAQs

This remains the status of operations following national restrictions effective November 05: We will continue to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services as resources and local conditions allow. Visa appointments remain limited.

We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time.

Please keep checking this page for the latest information about travel to the United States and visa services in the UK.

If you have an interview scheduled, please check your email and your Visa Appointment Service account for appointment status.

If you have recently entered the UK, your appointment must take place more than 14 days after your arrival into the UK. Please sign in to your Visa Appointment Service account if you need to reschedule your appointment.

U.S. travel restrictions remain in place. If a Presidential Proclamation applies to you and you don’t qualify for an exception listed in the proclamation, you can only travel to the U.S. if you obtain a national interest exception before you travel. This applies if you already have a valid visa (other than F and M student visas issued before March 20, 2020) or ESTA, as well as if you need to apply for a visa or ESTA. Keep reading for details.

If you need to apply for a U.S. visa, unavoidable backlogs caused by the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) mean that visa application procedures are subject to delay, some visa services remain suspended, and appointment availability is limited.

SECTION 1: Presidential Proclamation & U.S. Travel Restrictions

Entry of foreign nationals who were physically present within the following list of countries within 14 days prior to their entry or attempted entry into the United States is suspended, per Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993, 9996 and the subsequent proclamation issued May 24, 2020:

  • Brazil.
  • The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe.
  • The Republic of Ireland.
  • The 26 countries that comprise the Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland).
  • The Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • The People’s Republic of China, not including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

Click here to read Presidential Proclamation 9996 in full for detailed information.

The travel restriction does not apply to:

  • U.S. citizens.
  • Legal permanent residents (LPRs).
  • Most immediate family members of U.S. citizens.
  • Other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.

If PP 9996 does not apply to you, we recommend that you carry documentation demonstrating why you are exempt and a printed copy of the proclamation when you travel. See FAQ 1.4 below for more U.S. travel guidance.

If PP 9996 applies to you and you do not qualify for one of the exceptions listed in the proclamation, or if you are unsure if PP 9996 applies to you after reading the proclamation and this page in full, see Question 6 below for information about how to apply for national interest consideration.

The final decision on admission to the United States is made by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the U.S. Port of Entry. No assurances can be given in advance.

It is vital that you read the proclamation in full to find out if it applies to you. You can find further details on proclamations in effect and exceptions here (travel.state.gov)We are unable to interpret the proclamation for you by email, telephone, or social media beyond the information on this website. The below information is provided for guidance only.

I will be studying in the United States. Am I exempt from the proclamation?

If you apply for an F or M visa after March 20, 2020, a national interest exception will be considered as part of the visa application process.

If you already hold a valid F-1 or M-1 visa, are traveling from the UK, Ireland, or the Schengen Area, and have not been physically present in Brazil, Iran, or China within the last 14 days, you do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel to the United States.

My spouse is a U.S. citizen or LPR. Am I exempt from the proclamation?

This particular Presidential Proclamation does not apply to “any alien who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.”

My child is a U.S. citizen or LPR. Am I exempt from the proclamation as their parent?

This particular Presidential Proclamation does not apply to “any alien who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.” Children must be unmarried and under the age of 21.

My parent is a U.S. citizen or LPR. Am I exempt from the proclamation?

This particular Presidential Proclamation does not apply to “any alien who is the child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications.”

My brother or sister is a U.S. citizen or LPR. Am I exempt from the proclamation?

This particular Presidential Proclamation does not apply to “any alien who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21.”

My partner/civil partner is a U.S. citizen or LPR. Are they considered a spouse?

The Department of State’s definition of spouse is “Legally married husband or wife. A co-habiting partner does not qualify as a spouse for immigration purposes. A common-law husband or wife may or may not qualify as a spouse for immigration purposes, depending on the laws of the country where the relationship occurs.” This also applies to civil partners; please contact the authority that conducted your civil partnership, or within which your common-law partnership exists, to clarify if it is considered legally equal to marriage, including for immigration purposes.

I have another relative in the United States. Am I exempt from the proclamation?

If your specific relationship isn’t listed in the Presidential Proclamation, then you do not qualify for an automatic exception.

I have an immigrant visa. Am I an LPR?

It is not possible to apply for a Permanent Resident Card (commonly known as a “Green Card”) from outside the United States. When an immigrant visa holder is admitted at a U.S. Port of Entry, their passport is stamped with the words “Processed for I-551 temporary evidence of lawful residence.” If you have an immigrant visa but you have not been previously admitted to the United States using that visa then you are considered an immigrant visa holder, not an LPR.

I want to transit another country to get to the United States, or transit the U.S. to get to another country. Does the proclamation apply?

  • The proclamation suspends travel to the U.S. for any individual who has been physically present in the United Kingdom or another listed country within 14 days prior to their arrival in the United States. Unless you plan to stay in a country that is not impacted by any of these proclamations for 14 days before traveling onward to the United States, the proclamation will continue to apply.
  • Transiting a country covered by the proclamation (including the UK), even without exiting the airport, counts as physical presence within that country and triggers the application of the proclamation.
  • The proclamation also applies to traveling through a U.S. airport to get to another country.
I qualify for an exception listed in the proclamation. Does this mean I can travel without a visa or ESTA?

Qualifying for an exception to the travel restriction listed in PP 9996 does not remove the need for the appropriate immigration status or documentation.

  • U.S. citizens are required to enter and exit the United States with a valid U.S. passport, even if they are a dual citizen.
  • If you are an LPR, you should typically be prepared to show your Permanent Resident Card (‘Green Card’), or a valid I-551 stamp in your passport if you were first admitted to the U.S. as an LPR within the last 12 months and you have not yet received your Permanent Resident Card. If your Permanent Resident Card is lost, stolen or missing, please see FAQ 4.2 below.
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen or LPR, you will need the appropriate valid visa or ESTA for your purpose of travel. If you need to apply for a visa, see SECTION 2 below.

If PP 9996 does not apply to you, we recommend that you carry documentation demonstrating why you are exempt and a printed copy of the proclamation when you travel. FAQ 1.4 below for more U.S. travel guidance.

If PP 9996 applies to you and you do not qualify for one of the exceptions listed in the proclamation, or if you are unsure if PP 9996 applies to you after reading the proclamation and this page in full, see FAQ 1.6 below for information about national interest consideration.

Admission to the United States is a matter for U.S. CBP officials. No assurances can be given in advance.

Travel to the United States from a country that is not covered by the Presidential Proclamation may be possible, but we advise you to verify whether the country to which you intend to travel has implemented travel or other restrictions before you make travel arrangements.  One possible source of such information is travel.state.gov which contains links to the websites of other countries’ immigration authorities.

We are not able to suggest countries through which you may travel, comment on your proposed travel itinerary, or provide information about travel regulations that apply to other countries.

Please bear in mind:

  • The proclamation suspends travel to the U.S. for any individual who has been physically present in the United Kingdom or another listed country within 14 days prior to their arrival in the United States. Unless you plan to stay in a country that is not impacted by any of these proclamations for 14 days before traveling onward to the United States, the proclamation will continue to apply.
  • Transiting a country covered by the proclamation (including the UK), even without exiting the airport, counts as physical presence within that country and triggers the application of the proclamation.
  • The proclamation also applies to traveling through a U.S. airport to get to another country.

Qualifying for an exception to the travel restriction listed in PP 9996 does not remove the need for the appropriate immigration status or documentation. Depending on your circumstances, you will need a valid U.S. passport, Permanent Resident Card/I-551 stamp, ESTA or visa appropriate for your purpose of travel. See Question 1.2 above for more information.

Contact your airline for the latest information about your travel plans and any restrictions.

If your ESTA was cancelled but you believe that you fall under one of the exceptions identified in Presidential Proclamation 9996, refer to the Travel Proclamation Help on the ESTA website for guidance.

Please note that the U.S. Embassy cannot provide an official letter stating that you are excepted from a travel restriction.

If you travel, please follow the steps below:

  • Do not attempt to check in for your flight online if you have an ESTA registration.
  • Arrive early for your flight.
  • Carry any documentation that you believe demonstrates why you have been excepted from a travel restriction, such as a Permanent Resident Card (commonly known as a Green Card), a marriage certificate, or a birth certificate.
  • You may also wish to carry a printed copy of the Presidential Proclamation itself.
  • Your status will be reviewed in consultation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials. Please note that smaller airports may not have CBP officials on site.
  • If applicable in your case, your ESTA will be reinstated in order to allow you to board.

Will I have to quarantine in the United States?

It is important that you check quarantine regulations for the state you are visiting. You can find the most-up to date information on the CDC website and the state’s health department website. Please note you will still be required to quarantine as required by CDC and local guidelines even if you qualify for an automatic exception to the current Presidential Proclamations or you have received a national interest exception in order to travel directly to the United States.

The Visit USA website has useful links to state, city, hotel, and airline social distancing information.

Visa validity relates to the time during which the holder may travel to the United States to apply for admission to the United States for a reason consistent with the type of visa they hold. Please check your visa for validity information, and see our website for information about each visa category.

If Presidential Proclamation 9996 applies to you then you must either qualify for an exception listed in the proclamation or apply for and obtain a national interest exception even if you hold a valid visa.

A visa does not guarantee entry to the United States. Admission is a matter for CBP officials at the Port of Entry and all travelers are subject to questioning. No assurances can be given in advance. 

If you do not fall under one of the exemptions to the Presidential Proclamation but you have an urgent or humanitarian need for travel, such as for critical medical treatment, or you think you may qualify for another possible exception, please click here to contact us, selecting that your inquiry is not covered on the website.

In your message, please:

  1. Request ‘National Interest consideration.’
  2. Briefly outline your reason for travel.
  3. State whether you currently have a valid visa, a valid ESTA or neither.

Please only submit your request if your intended travel is within 30 days. We will not be able to respond to requests that are further in the future.

The Presidential Proclamation does not include an exception on the basis of negative test results. Please read PP 9996 in full for details of possible exemptions.

As you are not currently in the UK, we cannot offer guidance as to whether you would fall under an exception to Presidential Proclamation 9996 if you were to seek to reenter the United States at a future date. Please review the Presidential Proclamation for detailed information.

Before departing the United States, we would strongly advise you to consider the necessity of traveling to the UK. National Interest consideration should only be requested if you are relatively certain you may qualify for one of the exceptions listed in the Proclamation. You will need to wait until you are in the UK to apply for any national interest consideration. An exception is not guaranteed and if you do not qualify this may result in a significant delay in being able to return to the United States.

If you do travel to the UK and wish to return to the United States, you may contact us after entering the UK by following the instruction in FAQ 1.6 above. Please contact us no more than one month before the date of your planned travel back to the United States, and include information about why you departed the U.S.

The exception to Presidential Proclamation 9996 is valid for one entry only and is time-limited. Please note, this does not affect the validity of a visa or ESTA.

If you are unable to travel before the approval date stated, or if you depart the United States after traveling on an exception and then need to travel to the United States again, you will need to apply for and obtain a new exception before you can travel.

Please be aware that the process may take several days or weeks depending on the circumstances of your case. Furthermore, no guarantees are possible in advance. This is why we advise you to travel within the validity period of your current exception if at all possible.

In order to apply for a new exception, please contact us no sooner than 30 days before your proposed date of travel to the United States. If you are currently in the United States, you must wait until you have returned to the UK before submitting your request.

Please click here to contact us, selecting that your inquiry is not covered on the website. In the message you should state:

  • your full name (as it displays in your passport).
  • your proposed date of travel.
  • the category of visa that you hold.
  • that you are requesting a new exception because the approval you received at the time of visa issuance has expired.

Your request will be reviewed by the Visa Unit and you will be informed of the outcome as soon as possible. You will not need to pay an additional visa fee or attend another interview.



SECTION 2: Appointment Status

Are visa interviews taking place for the type of nonimmigrant visa I need?

The U.S. Embassy in London and the U.S. Consulate in Belfast are offering emergency visa services only at this time.

If the visa service you require is not currently available, please keep checking this page periodically. We are working diligently to restore all routine visa operations as quickly and safely as possible. In the meantime, rest assured that the validity of your payment (known as the MRV fee) has been extended until December 31, 2021.

Please note, if you require a national interest exception in addition to your visa in order to travel, this will be assessed as part of your visa application. We will only be able to issue visas that also require a national interest exception within 30 days of your travel date.

Visa interview appointments are taking place for limited urgent, humanitarian reasons for travel. In order to request an emergency appointment, please follow the instructions provided on the Visa Appointment website.

Please note, appointment availability is extremely limited and no guarantees can be given in advance regarding your eligibility for an expedited appointment.

If you recently entered the UK after international travel, please state your date of arrival in the UK when you request your expedited appointment. This is because your appointment must take place no earlier than 14 days after your entry into the UK. You will not be permitted to enter the Embassy or Consulate if within 14 days of international travel.

If you are offered an appointment but you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or you have been exposed to the virus, do not attend the appointment. You must reschedule your appointment through the Visa Appointment Service website.

 


Nonimmigrant Visa FAQs

The Department of State suspended routine visa services worldwide in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As global conditions evolve, U.S. Embassies and Consulates are beginning a phased resumption of routine visa services.

The resumption of routine visa services will occur on a post-by-post basis, in coordination with the Department’s Diplomacy Strong framework for safely returning our workforce to Department facilities. U.S. embassies and consulates have continued to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services since March and will continue to do so as they are able. As post-specific conditions improve, our missions will begin providing additional services, culminating eventually in a complete resumption of routine visa services.

We are unable to provide a specific timeframe for when the U.S. Embassy in London will resume specific visa services, or when the U.S. Embassy in London will return to processing at pre-COVID workload levels.

If no appointments are available when you first check the calendar on your Visa Appointment Service account, please check it regularly for newly released appointments. We do not operate a waiting list.

Once you have booked a visa interview appointment through the Visa Appointment Service website, you can follow the instructions in your account to request an expedited appointment if you have urgent need of travel.

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.

An expedite request relates only to the date of the visa interview. No expedited visa processing is available.

Once you have booked a visa interview appointment through the Visa Appointment Service website, follow the on-screen instructions in your account to request an expedited appointment.

You will be asked to briefly outline the reason that you must travel in an emergency. A Visa Unit manager will review your request and reply by email. This will be sent to the email address that your Visa Appointment Service account was registered with so please check that email address frequently, including any junk or spam folders.

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.

An expedite request relates only to the date of the visa interview. No expedited visa processing is available.

You will go through airport-style security screening. Due to the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19), everyone should wear a face mask if they are aged 11 or over. You can choose to buy a mask or make your own. Visit the CDC website for information about how to make a face covering (sew and no-sew tutorials are available).

You must not bring laptops or bags above cabin-baggage size to your appointment as they are not permitted into the building and there are no storage facilities available. To save time, we recommend that you keep the number of small bags and belongings that you bring with you to an absolute minimum.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, have been exposed to the virus, or you have traveled outside the UK in the last 14 days, you must reschedule your appointment through the Visa Appointment Service website.

If you have recently entered the UK, your appointment must take place more than 14 days after your arrival into the UK. Please sign in to your Visa Appointment Service account if you need to reschedule your appointment.

Your request was reviewed by a senior consular manager and the email you received reflects the outcome. No appeal is available.

Please check this webpage regularly. Once routine operations resume for your visa type, you can expect appointment availability on your Visa Appointment Service appointment calendar to increase.

We do not operate a waiting list and we cannot offer you an appointment by email, telephone, or social media.

At this time, Embassy London can accept interview waiver applications for individuals who will be traveling in an official capacity and applying for one of the following visa categories:

  • A-1
  • A-2
  • C-1/D
  • C-2
  • C-3
  • G-1
  • G-2
  • G-3
  • G-4
  • NATO-01
  • NATO-04
  • NATO-05
  • NATO-06.

 

I haven’t attended a visa interview.

We are working diligently to restore all routine visa operations as quickly and safely as possible. In the meantime, rest assured that we have extended the validity of your payment (known as the MRV fee) until December 31, 2021.

If you depart the United Kingdom and 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.

As explained at the time of fee payment, visa fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

I have attended a visa interview.

Your MRV fee has already been utilized in covering the costs of processing your application and providing associated services.

If you wish to apply for a new visa, you will be required to pay a new MRV fee and complete a new Form DS-160.

Can I have a refund?

We do not have the authority to grant exceptions or to refund MRV fee payments. The MRV fee is non-refundable and non-transferable as per the terms and conditions that you agreed to at the time of payment, which are outlined on the Visa Appointment Service website.

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 for more information about visa and passport validity.

If you are currently in the United States, please be aware that the expiration date of your visa has no bearing on your length of stay in the United States. Please check the stamp in your passport applied by officials at the U.S. Port of Entry for information about your authorized period of stay. If you have overstayed your authorized period of admission or you are concerned that you may overstay, see FAQ 4.1 below.

If you have been advised that your application requires additional administrative processing or is under review, that will remain the status of your case until you are notified about the outcome. The process cannot be waived and no expedite service is available.

You do not need to monitor the status of your case online because you will be contacted directly.  Please note, we cannot provide routine status updates while administrative processing is underway.

If we are not currently able to offer appointments for the category of visa you are applying for, we also cannot process routine visa applications in that visa category, so please do not submit any documents at this time. Please keep checking this webpage for updates.

If a visa application is approved during a visa interview, the average processing time is currently approximately 10 working days. No expedited processing service is available.

If you have been asked to submit additional information or documentation, additional time must be allowed because the consular officer cannot adjudicate your case until everything has been received.

Delivery tracking information will be sent to the email address that was provided through the Visa Appointment Service website when your visa interview was scheduled. Furthermore, you will be emailed if more information is needed for your case, or if additional processing is required. It is important for you to check that email account regularly, including any junk or spam folders.

Passports and documents will be delivered by the option chosen when the visa interview was scheduled. Please sign in to your Visa Appointment Service for information. It is not possible for you to collect your passport from the Embassy in person.

If more than 10 working days have passed since your visa application was approved at interview and you have not received any emails or letters about the status of your case, please contact us. We cannot offer status checks before the standard processing time has passed.



SECTION 3: Immigrant and Fiancé(e) Visas

Are interviews taking place for the type of immigrant or fiancé(e) visa that I need to apply for?

Click on your visa category in the list below to find out.

If the visa service you require is not currently available, please keep checking this page regularly as this is where we will notify you about updates.

If your case is with NVC, please contact NVC directly to discuss the status of your case and any expedite options.

If your case has been forwarded to the Embassy in London and you are waiting for your appointment instructions letter, thank you for your patience while we work through a backlog due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will send your letter as soon as possible.

You can sign in to your Visa Appointment Service account to schedule or reschedule your appointment. If your appointment was canceled during lockdown and you have not yet created a Visa Appointment Service account, you will be required to register the original appointment date before you can reschedule to a new date.

Visa interview appointments can take place. If your case is with NVC, please contact NVC directly to discuss the status of your case and any expedite options.

You can sign in to your Visa Appointment Service account to schedule or reschedule your appointment. If your appointment was canceled during lockdown and you have not yet created a Visa Appointment Service account, you will be required to register the original appointment date before you can reschedule to a new date.

DV-2020

The DV-2020 Program expired on September 30, 2020 and, in accordance with law, DV-2020 diversity visas cannot be issued after that date under any circumstances. Therefore, all DV-2020 cases are closed and no further action is possible.

DV-2021

If your case has been selected for further processing as part of the DV-2021 program, please sign in to your Entry Status Check (ESC) account for information and instructions.

 

 

At this time, standard interview appointments are not taking place for your visa category. Please keep checking this page regularly as this is where we will notify you about any updates.

If you have been advised that your case file has been forwarded to the Embassy in London, you can refer to our website for an overview of the application procedure and begin compiling the necessary supporting documents. You should not attempt to book a medical examination or visa interview date yet.

If you have not yet received your appointment instructions letter, please be aware that you should not expect to receive the letter until routine services resume for your visa category.

We are aware of the U.S. District Court’s recent order in Milligan v. Pompeo, and we are awaiting guidance from the Department of State on the implementation of that order. Any changes to K-1 visa processing as a result of the Court’s order will be posted on travel.state.gov.


Immigrant & Fiancé(e) Visa Application Status FAQs

The Department of State suspended routine visa services worldwide in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As global conditions evolve, U.S. Embassies and Consulates are beginning a phased resumption of routine visa services.

The resumption of routine visa services will occur on a post-by-post basis, in coordination with the Department’s Diplomacy Strong framework for safely returning our workforce to Department facilities. U.S. embassies and consulates have continued to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services since March and will continue to do so as they are able. As post-specific conditions improve, our missions will begin providing additional services, culminating eventually in a complete resumption of routine visa services.

We are unable to provide a specific timeframe for when the U.S. Embassy in London will resume specific visa services, or when the U.S. Embassy in London will return to processing at pre-COVID workload levels.

If your case is with NVC, please contact NVC directly to discuss the status of your case, including expedite options. We are unable to answer any questions about NVC cases, including about appointment scheduling. The Embassy’s role is to communicate with NVC about overall appointment capacity, not to allocate interview dates to applicants. Therefore, we cannot predict or influence when your appointment may be scheduled.

If your case is with the Embassy in London and you have received your appointment instruction letter or your previous appointment was canceled, you can sign in to your Visa Appointment Service account to schedule or reschedule your appointment. If your appointment was canceled during lockdown and you have not yet created a Visa Appointment Service account, you will be required to register the original appointment date before you can reschedule to a new date.

If no appointments are available when you first check the calendar on your account, please check it regularly for newly released appointments. We do not operate a waiting list.

Once you have booked a visa interview appointment through the Visa Appointment Service website, you can follow the instructions in your account to request an expedited appointment if you have urgent need of travel.

If you have not already done so, please book and attend a medical appointment with the Embassy’s panel physician. Please visit our website and select the type of visa you are applying for to find information about medical and document requirements.

You will go through airport-style security screening. Due to the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19), everyone should wear a face mask if they are aged 11 or over. You can choose to buy a mask or make your own. Visit the CDC website for information about how to make a face covering (sew and no-sew tutorials are available).

You must not bring laptops or bags above cabin-baggage size to your appointment as they are not permitted into the building and there are no storage facilities available. To save time, we recommend that you keep the number of small bags and belongings that you bring with you to an absolute minimum.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus, you must reschedule your appointment through the Visa Appointment Service website. If you have recently entered the UK, your appointment must take more than 14 days after your arrival into the UK.

We ask that you attend your appointment unaccompanied if possible. However, if you would like to be accompanied by a carer or translator, or if the visa applicant is under 18 and their parent or legal guardian are not applying for a visa at the same time, please contact us to submit a request to be accompanied. In your message, please include:

  • The full name of the visa applicant;
  • Their case number;
  • The date and time of the visa interview; and
  • The full name of the person that wishes to accompany the applicant to the interview, and their relationship to the applicant.

It is not possible to apply for a visa from within the United States. If you are in the U.S. and you wish to apply to adjust status to reside there permanently, you must contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office with jurisdiction over your current location. Contact details are provided through their website.

If USCIS requires information or documentation from the Embassy in London in connection with your application to adjust status, they can contact us through official channels.

If the request to adjust status in the U.S. is denied, you must apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of the United States. If you return to the United Kingdom, please check this webpage for the latest information about visa services at Embassy London.

Filing a petition

Our website lists all of the available visa categories.

Most immigrant visa petitions are filed with and approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), so your petitioner should contact USCIS with any questions about petition filing, including about eligibility or fee payment. Information and contact details can be found on their website.

Petition status

You can check the status of a petition using the USCIS case status checker.

If the petition has not yet been approved and the applicant’s address has changed, click here to provide USCIS with the new address.

If you have petition status questions after checking the USCIS website, please contact USCIS directly using contact details provided on that website.

If a petition has been filed with Embassy London due to exceptional circumstances, a response to the request will be sent by email as soon as possible. Please check your email account regularly, including any junk or spam folders.

If you are applying for an immigrant visa and the case is being processed by NVC, please click here to visit your CEAC account for information. Please contact NVC using the contact form on that website if you still have questions.

We are unable to answer any questions about NVC cases, including about appointment scheduling. The Embassy’s role is to communicate with NVC about overall appointment capacity, not to allocate interview dates to applicants. Therefore, we cannot predict or influence when your appointment may be scheduled.

We cannot accept expedite requests directly from an applicant or their representatives. Please contact NVC if you have urgent need of travel.

f you are unable to attend the date you’ve been assigned, you should sign in to your Visa Appointment Service account to book a new interview date after the original interview date has passed.

Please note, you should not expect your account to be updated to allow you to schedule a new interview until after the scheduled appointment date has passed. Until then, the account will still display details of the appointment that was assigned. You need not be concerned. You are not required to attend that appointment.

If your case is being processed by NVC, they will provide application instructions to you in due course.

If your case has been forwarded to the Embassy in London and you have checked SECTION 3 above to see that we are offering appointments for your type of visa, please be patient while we work through a backlog due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will send your letter as soon as possible.

If you are applying for a type of visa for which services are not currently available (see SECTION 3 above), your letter will be sent after Embassy London resumes processing of your visa category. Please keep checking this webpage for the latest information.

Applicants are given 12 months from the date on which the Embassy’s Immigrant Visa Unit writes to them with their case number and application instructions.

​You do not need to be concerned if the petition in your name expires while you are waiting for K-1 visa services to resume. This is because you can 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 to your visa interview in the future, not mail it or email it to the Embassy now.

  • If your email address changes after you have created a Visa Appointment Service account, please update your account with the new email.
  • If your UK address changes, please contact us with your new address.

Immigrant and fiancé(e) visas should be processed by the embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence. If you move to another country, contact the relevant embassy or consulate to ask that they officially request your case file from the Embassy in London.

Which documents should I send?

If documents or scans have been requested by NVC, please click here to visit your CEAC account for information, and contact NVC using the contact form on that website if you still have questions.

If documentation has been requested by the consular officer following a visa interview, you can check the Department of State’s website for information about how to obtain copies of civil documents.

Do not send your passport unless it has specifically been requested from you.

If you’re not sure what documents to submit after checking the letter you were given and the instructions in your Visa Appointment Service account, you can contact us.

How should I send the documents?

Sign in to your Visa Appointment Service account and follow the instructions to send documents to the Embassy. If you see a green ‘Continue’ button, click it to obtain the instructions.

If you have been advised that your application requires additional administrative processing or is under review, that will remain the status of your case until you are notified about the outcome. No expedite service is available. You do not need to monitor the status of your case online as you will be contacted directly when the outcome is known.

Please see FAQ 3.9 above for information about what to do if your email address or residential address changes.

If a visa application is approved during a visa interview, the average processing time is currently approximately three weeks.

If you have been asked to submit additional information or documentation such as a medical report or new passport, additional time must be allowed because the consular officer cannot adjudicate your case until everything has been submitted.

Delivery tracking information will be sent to the email address on your Visa Appointment Service account. Furthermore, you will be emailed if more information is needed for your case, or if additional processing is required. Therefore it is important for you to check that email account regularly, including any junk or spam folders.

Passports and documents will be delivered by the option chosen when the visa interview was scheduled. Please sign in to your Visa Appointment Service for information. It is not possible for you to collect your passport from the Embassy in person.

If more than 15 working days have passed since your visa application was approved at interview or since you submitted additional requested information or documentation (whichever is later) and you have not received any emails or letters about the status of your case, you can contact us. We cannot offer status checks before the standard processing time has passed.

 

Should I have a visa package?

All passports are delivered in a plastic courier envelope. Some courier envelopes will also contain a paper envelope known as a visa package, which clearly states on the back that it should only be opened by immigration officials at the U.S. Port of Entry.

If your visa is annotated with the phrase “IV Docs in CCD,” you will not receive an immigrant visa package. That is because you scanned your supporting documents as part of the visa process.

What should I do if my visa package is damaged or opened?

If your visa package (a paper envelope) has small nicks or tears, you do not need to be concerned. You can apply a small amount of clear tape and explain to the immigration officials that it was damaged during delivery. However, if the damage looks large enough that documents could be removed or fall out, please contact us with your full name, case number, visa category, and planned date of travel to the U.S.

If you received a visa package in a paper envelope, it will clearly state that it should not be opened. If you have accidentally opened it, contact us with your full name, case number, visa category, and planned date of travel to the U.S.

Immigrant visas cannot be extended. However, if you are unable to travel within the validity period of your visa due to circumstances beyond your control, you can request visa reissuance once services have resumed for your visa category.

Please check SECTION 3 above. If visa services have resumed for your visa category and your visa has expired, please contact the Immigrant Visa Unit to check whether it is possible for your visa to be reissued on an emergency basis. Please provide the full names of the visa applicant(s) and the petitioner, plus the case number (typically LND followed by ten digits). The Immigrant Visa Unit will advise you at that time whether it is possible for your visa to be reissued and, if so, whether a new medical will be required.

If appointments are not currently taking place for your visa category, it is also not possible for visas of that type to be reissued at this time. Please keep checking our website for further updates.

Please be aware that the extension of a medical report is only possible in certain limited circumstances, and that it can only be considered in the context of visa issuance or reissuance.

Your petitioner should write a signed and dated letter asking for the petition in your name to be withdrawn.

The letter should be sent to:

Immigrant Visa Unit
U.S. Embassy
33 Nine Elms Lane
London SW11 7US



SECTION 4: Visa Holders and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs)

Are appointments taking place for the service I need?

Click on your visa category in the list below to find out.

U.S. Embassy London is not currently able to offer fingerprinting/biometrics appointments.

We do not have an estimated timeframe for when appointments will resume.

We will update this webpage as soon as we can resume the service, so please keep checking this page regularly.

U.S. Embassy London is not currently scheduling DNA test collection appointments for either U.S. visa or U.S. passport or citizenship services. This includes DNA testing cases referred from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

We do not have an estimated timeframe for when DNA test collection appointment scheduling will resume.

Please check this webpage regularly because we will update it as soon as we can resume the service.


Visa Holder & LPR FAQs

This is a matter for USCIS.

If you have questions after checking the USCIS Response to COVID-19 webpage, you should contact them using the contact details on that website.

The travel restrictions of PP 9996 do not apply to LPRs.

If you have been outside United States for under 12 months (or under two years if you received a re-entry permit that you applied for before leaving the United States), please click here for the information you need about documentation and returning to the United States.

Information about travel as an LPR and maintaining permanent resident status is provided through the USCIS website.

If an LPR remains outside the U.S. for more than 12 months (or beyond the validity period of a re-entry permit applied for before leaving the United States), they lose their entitlement to LPR status.

If you are still in LPR status, the travel restrictions of PP 9996 do not apply to you. If your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) is missing or has expired, see FAQ 4.2 above for information about how you can travel to the United States.

If an individual loses LPR status and does not qualify for returning resident status, they are required to apply for and obtain an immigrant visa if they wish to return to the United States to live there indefinitely or permanently. It can be difficult to qualify for returning resident status, and no assurances can be given in advance. This is why it is important to carefully consider your travel plans before your LPR status expires. Information about travel as an LPR and maintaining permanent resident status is provided through the USCIS website.

If you have ever formally abandoned your LPR status, it cannot be reinstated.