FAQs: Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services

Which additional visa services is the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines beginning to provide?

The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines is continuing to provide emergency, mission-critical visa services. As Philippine conditions permit, the Embassy is phasing in processing some routine nonimmigrant and immigrant visa cases, for example: travelers with urgent travel needs; students (F-1, M-1, and certain J-1) and some family members of U.S. citizens consistent with Presidential Proclamation 10014 and 10052. We expect the volume and type of visa cases we will process will depend on local circumstances. We will resume adjudicating all routine nonimmigrant and immigrant visa cases only when adequate resources are available, and it is safe to do so.

What criteria is the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines using to determine when to resume routine services?

We are closely monitoring local conditions in each country where we have a U.S. presence. Local conditions that may affect when we can begin providing various public services include medical infrastructure, COVID-19 cases, emergency response capabilities, and restriction on leaving home.

Why are K visas, which help unite couples, not a priority, while business and student visas are?

The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines will resume K visa application processing as local conditions and resources allow. Applicants should check our website at https://ph.usembassy.gov/visas/visa-updates/ for updates on what services that post is currently able to offer.

What about my MRV fee that expired while routine services were suspended?

As a result of the March 2020 suspension of routine visa services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many nonimmigrant visa applicants have not been able to schedule an interview appointment or attend their visa interview. The nonimmigrant visa application processing fee (also known as the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee) normally remains valid for one year from the date of payment to schedule an interview appointment. In light of the interruption in visa services caused by COVID-19, the Department of State is reviewing this validity period and hopes to have updated information soon.

What steps are being taken to protect customers and staff from the spread of COVID-19?

The health and safety of our workforce and customers will remain paramount. The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines is implementing safeguards to keep staff and customers safe, including implementing physical distancing in our waiting rooms, scheduling fewer interviews at a time, frequent disinfection of high touch areas, and following local health and safety regulations.

Do the various Presidential Proclamations/travel restrictions still apply, or are those lifting with the resumption of visa services?

The five geographical COVID-19 Proclamations (P.P. 9984, 9992, 9993, 9996, 10041) and the two COVID-19 Labor Market Proclamations suspending the entry of certain aliens (P.P. 10014 and 10052) remain in effect.

Is my situation an emergency? I need to go the United States immediately for X.

Applicants can find instructions on how to request an emergency visa appointment at https://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph/ph-niv-emergencyappointment.asp (Nonimmigrant Visa) or https://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph/ph-iv-expeditedappointment.asp (Immigrant Visa).

Can visa applications still be submitted, even if the embassy or consulate isn’t currently processing them? In what order will applications submitted now be processed once the embassies and consulates resume services?

Immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants are able to submit visa applications online now. As post-specific conditions permit, our missions are phasing in the processing of some routine nonimmigrant and immigrant visa cases, for example: students (F-1, M-1, and certain J-1) and some family members of U.S. citizens consistent with P.P. 10014. We expect the volume and type of visa cases to depend on local circumstances. An Embassy or Consulate will resume adjudicating all routine nonimmigrant and immigrant visa cases only when adequate resources are in place and it is safe to do so.

Will you prioritize the renewal of visas for the thousands of nonimmigrant workers who became stranded overseas when the latest Presidential Proclamation went into effect?

Presidential Proclamation 10052 remains in effect. Applicants who are not subject to the Proclamation or believe they are eligible for an exception to the Proclamation should check the website of the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate regarding the current status of services.