U.S. Visa Appointment Booking in 2020
Generally, all foreign nationals who wish to enter the United States must obtain a visa. And to get a U.S. Visa Appointment Booking in 2020, you will need to attend a prescheduled visa appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate near you.
However, since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been certain changes regarding U.S. visa appointment booking in 2020 across U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. In its bid to ensure the safety of its residents and visitors, the U.S. government has implemented some restrictions and limitations on visa issuance and entry into the country. If you haven’t been to the U.S. in a while, you will need to familiarize yourself with the current visa processing. This article gives you a comprehensive guide about S visa appointment booking in 2020.
How to Apply for a U.S. Visa Appointment Booking in 2020
You will need to start your U.S. visa application online, complete some documents and then proceed with physical interview at the embassy. The following are the required procedures.
Complete Non-immigrant Application DS-160 Form
Every US visa applicant, including children, must complete their own Form DS-160 visa application. The form must be filled and submitted online. This is the first step towards getting U.S. visa appointment booking. You can access the Online Non-immigrant Visa Application DS-160 Form on this webpage. You must sign electronically to certify you that all the information in the form is correct and true. Misrepresentation of facts in your application can lead to a visa denial. Here are some tips for filling DS-160.
- You will be asked to select a location for your interview. It is best to select your home country as your location for the interview. The selected location will be the same place where your interview will be scheduled.
- Answer all questions in English language only
- Once completed, the DS-160 will generate a confirmation page with a barcode. You must print the confirmation page and keep it, as it will be needed at your visa interview later.
Pay U.S. visa Application Fee
You are also required to pay a visa application fee before you can make your U.S. visa appointment booking. You can do this by creating a user account on the website and provide certain personal information to complete the account creation. Other details for the account creation include your DS-160 confirmation number and the address where you would want the embassy to send your documents to after the whole process.
After setting up the account, you will be able to make payment using any of the accepted payment methods on the website. Visa application fee varies widely depending on the exact non-immigrant visa you are applying for.
Schedule and Attend Your U.S. Visa Appointment Booking in 2020
Typically, once you are done filling DS-160 and making payment, you should be able to schedule a visa appointment. You can complete your U.S. visa appointment booking by scheduling your interview based on the available wait times on the embassy or consulate website. And once the scheduled date reaches, you will attend your interview there.
If after the interview, your application is granted, you will receive a visa to travel to the United States. Upon landing at the U.S. airport or border, you will go through certain entry screening with the U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP). If you are granted entry by the CBP official, you will be allowed into the U.S.
However, this usual process may not be that straightforward at the moment, due to the current COVID-19-imposed changes across U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide. The following are some current procedures for making U.S. visa appointment booking in 2020.
Coronavirus-Induced Changes to U.S. Visa Appointment Booking in 2020
The possibility of getting U.S. visa appointment booking in 2020 is largely subject to the visa type you are applying for and your location. At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, the United States various restrictions, banning and limiting the entry of foreign nationals into the country. At the initial stage, the restrictions were mainly country-based, banning entering from those countries that were epicenters for the virus. As the pandemic lingers, there have been a series of followed-up updates and on those standing restrictions. Notably among them was the restriction based on certain visas. Many of those changes are still effective while some have been amended to fit into the current state of the pandemic.
U.S. Visa Appointment Booking in 2020 Based on Country
The U.S. country-specific coronavirus-imposed travel bans were notably on five geographical locations, namely China, Iran, the Schengen Area, U.K. and Ireland, and Brazil. If you are applying for a visa from any of these countries, you may face certain difficulties due to the current restriction proclamations. According to the proclamations, there would be restriction or limitation of entry to people who have visited any of these places 14 days prior to their entry or attempted entry into the U.S. Though this ban is still standing in most of those places, certain relaxations and adjustments have been made to them.
U.S. Visa Appointment Booking in 2020 Based on Visa Classification
On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending the issuance of most immigrant and nonimmigrant visa until the end of the year. Most of the work visas, student visas, as well as visitor and business visas, were affected. Apart from safety, one of the reasons given for this change was to protect the jobs and interest of American workers. However, for all these visa bans, there are certain national interest exemptions for qualified applicants. In other words, even if there is a restriction on the visa you are applying for, your visa application may still be approved if you meet those conditions. The same applies to country-specific restrictions.
National Interest Exemptions for U.S. Visa Application
You can still get a U.S. visa appointment booking in 2020 even if the category you are applying is generally banned. This privilege is in line with the U.S. national exemptions, waiving the restrictions for travelers whose entering benefit the country. If you apply for a visa, the officials at the embassy will review your purpose of traveling and decide whether it will be in the U.S. national interest. And if they think you qualify, you will be issued a visa and allow you to enter the U.S. The following are the examples of national interest exemptions for U.S. visa appointment booking in 2020:
- Your purpose of entering the U.S. is critical to the law enforcement, diplomacy, defense, and national security of the United States.
- You are entering the U.S. to provide healthcare service to people who have contracted coronavirus and are currently hospitalized.
- Your purpose of entering is deemed necessary for the United States economic recovery process.
In addition, on May 22, the DHS issued an exemption, as a followed up updates to the above exemptions. This gave certain privilege to some foreign athletes from Iran, China, the Schengen Area, Ireland, and the U.K. The exemption is for those competing in professional sporting events and their immediate relatives and support staff.
The July 22 exemptions update also cover international students from certain countries. The statement reads “Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the U.K., and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas do not need to contact an embassy or consulate to seek an individual national interest exception to travel.” In other words, if you have a valid U.S. student visa, you can qualify for national interest exemption and be allowed to enter the U.S. However, if you are applying anew, you may still be qualified, but you must first contact the embassy or consulate to ascertain your eligibility.
Also, if you are travelling for business purposes, you may still qualify for a visa. But you will need to check first with the embassy.
You can also get premium service and help on your application by applying with US visa appointment premium service.
Guidance on U.S. Visa Appointment Booking in 2020
Before commencing your visa application process, it is advisable to first contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of residence. They will give you information on that visa status and your eligibility for it. You will also know how to go about the application process in line with the current changes.