Re-opening of U.S. Visa Appointments Still Uncertain

This is Stephanie of IMS. For almost 2 months now, the U.S. Department of State has suspended routine visa and citizenship services worldwide, including at the Embassy in Tokyo and consulates around the country. Only emergency visa appointments are allowed, and they must be made by special request. The full list of circumstances which allow for emergency appointment can be found at the following URL, but here is a short list:

Non-Immigrant Visas:

  • Urgent travel for E visa applicants that cannot be postponed
  • The death or sudden illness of a family member
  • Students or exchange visitors whose purpose of travel is to begin or resume a valid program of study in the United States within 30 days (English) (日本語)

Unfortunately, this means for many travelers who wish to go to the U.S. for business or pleasure have had to postpone or cancel their plans. Among our clients, many J-1 training programs have been delayed by months, with no solid timeline for when their training might begin. Routine visa services will be resumed as soon as possible, but the Department of State has been unable to provide a specific date.

In addition, those who had a visa appointment and had it forcibly cancelled will be able to apply the appointment fee (“MRV fee”) they paid to any future appointment within 1 year of the date of payment. For more information, please see the U.S. Travel Docs website.

As we all weather these uncertain and difficult times, please remember to take care of your health and to practice social distancing for the benefit of everyone.