U.S. Embassy cancels visa interviews through May 31, 2020

U.S. Embassy cancels visa interviews through May 31, 2020

The U.S. Embassy in Manila announced that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is canceling all immigrant and nonimmigrant visa interviews scheduled through May 31, 2020. They hope to resume routine visa services as soon as possible, but cannot provide a specific date at this time, meaning it is possible visa interviews will be canceled beyond May 31.

Once the quarantine is lifted in Manila, applicants should reschedule their own visa interviews through the Embassy’s call center.  If your immigrant or nonimmigrant visa interview was canceled, don’t sit back and wait to be notified by the Embassy of a new interview date. Instead, you must take steps to have your interview rescheduled.  And make sure you do so within one year, or it could be possible the Embassy will terminate your case.

However, Pres. Trump has already signed a 60 day “suspension” of immigrant visa applicants coming to the U.S. through June 22, 2020 (except for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens), so it would seem only nonimmigrant visa applications would be entertained starting May 31, 2020, unless the Embassy further cancels interviews.  

And there may be further confusions or delays because of Pres. Trump’s proclamation, in that while people applying for their immigrant visas outside the U.S. are subject to that 60 day suspension, workers in the U.S. applying for adjustment of status inside the U.S. are not. They could still be interviewed and have their green cards issued in the U.S.  

What’s more, the annual allotment and distribution of employment visas are based on those applying both outside and inside the U.S.  If only those inside the U.S. can apply, the State Department may advance or move the priority date forward, allowing even more applicants in the U.S. to apply, so as to use of the supply of annual visas. For example, right now the priority date for EB-3 and other workers is January 1, 2017. In order to make sure the annual allotment of visas is used up by those in the U.S., the State Department might make that category “current,” and the annual supply could be quickly depleted.  Then, no more visas would be left for those applying outside the U.S. until October 2020, which is the new fiscal year for visas.

I understand many people are anxious and confused because the rules, regulations, and procedures are constantly changing in the middle of the game to deal with this pandemic. People have followed the rules, waited patiently in line, and it seems now they’re being told they will have to wait in an even longer line.

If you have any questions or concerns about your case, you should consult with an attorney who can evaluate your situation and determine your best course of action.


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