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USA – Current developments

Due to the situation with COVID-19, U.S. consulates in Germany are still only processing emergency appointments regardless of visa category. In order to receive an emergency appointment, employees had to fulfill one of the following criteria:

  • Medical emergency
  • Family emergency (funeral/death)
  • Participation in an appointment-based exchange program (students and exchange visitors)
  • ESTA refusal
  • Urgent business travel
  • Traveler who was turned away at check-in

Travel that is not in the near future is generally not considered an emergency by U.S. consulates. Generally, the decision to grant an emergency appointment is a discretionary decision by the U.S. consulates.

In addition, the Corona Travel Ban remains in effect indefinitely. Direct entry into the United States will continue to be possible only with the issuance of NIE for travelers from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The issuance of the NIE has been significantly restricted and tightened. Currently, only individuals who make a significant contribution to critical infrastructure or critical infrastructure-related supply chains in the United States qualify for the NIE.

Denial of visa applications by U.S. consulates is possible if the applicant does not also qualify for an NIE exemption. This is a discretionary decision by the U.S. consulates.

Individuals who do not qualify for the NIE can travel to another country which is not subject to the entry ban, stay for 14 days (quarantine), and then enter the US. In the United States, the quarantine requirement still exists in this case. This option of entering the United States via a third country is risky. We recommend not traveling, if at all possible, as there is risk with being able to return to the US due to the travel bans.

We are following the developments surrounding the United States very closely and will inform you accordingly. Furthermore, we will be happy to answer any questions of our clients. Contact us and we can analyze your current situation and discuss with our network alliance to find the best starting position for you.

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