Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Consular Affairs
U.S. Department of State
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Overseas Citizen Services
U.S. Department of State
CBSP SUPPORT/DEPARTMENT OF STATE PARTNERS: $524.3 million
Human resources are a vital component of CBSP activities. The Department devotes a significant amount of effort and resources towards increasing efficiency and capacity in the visa and passport processes, ensuring adequate staffing levels both domestically and overseas. The FY 2020 Request of $703.5 million, a $58.7 million increase from the FY 2019 Request, supports 4,859 U.S. Direct Hire personnel. These positions are primarily in the Bureau of Consular Affairs but also include CBSP-funded partner bureau positions. This increase restores the eight percent reduction included in the FY 2019 President’s Budget Request and annualizes costs associated with the Department’s FY 2018 and proposed FY 2019 Strategic Hiring Plans.
Certain business travelers, investors, treaty traders, academics, and students may qualify for National Interest Exceptions under Presidential Proclamations (PPs) 9993 (Schengen Area) and 9996 (United Kingdom and Ireland). Qualified business and student travelers who are applying for or have valid visas or ESTA authorization may travel to the United States even as PPs 9993 and 9996 remain in effect.
Students traveling from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas, do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel. Students from those areas who are traveling on a J-1 may contact the nearest embassy or consulate to initiate an exception request.The Department of State also continues to grant National Interest Exceptions for qualified travelers seeking to enter the United States for purposes related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security.
Granting national interest exceptions for this travel to the United States from the Schengen area, UK, and Ireland, will assist with the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and bolster key components of our transatlantic relationship.
We appreciate the transparency and concerted efforts of our European partners and allies to combat this pandemic and welcome the EU’s reciprocal action to allow key categories of essential travel to continue.
Why does @StateDept issue statements like this? “International Students are Welcome in the U.S.”? Really? It’s like when they release statements praising the US treatment of refugees or claim America leads the world’s response to Covid-19. Why do this? To confuse historians? https://t.co/vzH0avchfU
— Nahal Toosi (@nahaltoosi) July 7, 2020
ICE is telling international students on F-1 and M-1 visas that if their school is doing online-only courses they must leave the country or transfer to a place with in-person instruction—or they'll be deemed in the US illegally and subject to deportation. https://t.co/O0T8QITNKG
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) July 6, 2020
This is bad. ICE just told students here on student visas that if their school is going online-only this fall, the students must depart the United States and cannot remain through the fall semester. https://t.co/8DteVzexLB pic.twitter.com/OfkWRKFZZE
— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) July 6, 2020
International student visas are at risk as schools switch to online classes.
— Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) July 7, 2020
On Wednesday, April 22, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending entry into the United States of certain immigrants who present risk to the U.S. labor market during the economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak. The proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 23 and expires in 60 days, unless continued by the President.
U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and those holding valid immigrant visas on the effective date of the Proclamation, are not subject to the proclamation. The Proclamation is not retroactive. No valid visas will be revoked under this Proclamation. The proclamation provides exceptions to its restrictions for certain categories of immigrants, including: certain healthcare professionals, aliens seeking to enter the United States pursuant to an EB-5 investor visa, spouses and children (categories IR2, CR2, IR3, IH3, IR4, IH4) of U.S. citizens, members of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces, and aliens seeking to enter the United States pursuant to an Afghan and Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa. Please refer to the proclamation for a full list of exceptions. Routine visas services have been suspended at U.S. posts worldwide, but as resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services for applicants who are not subject to this presidential proclamation.
The full text of the presidential proclamation is available on the White House website at:
(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
(ii) any alien seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees; and any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of any such alien who are accompanying or following to join the alien;
(iii) any alien applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
(iv) any alien who is the spouse of a United States citizen;
(v) any alien who is under 21 years old and is the child of a United States citizen, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
(vi) any alien whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee;
(vii) any member of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces;
(viii) any alien seeking to enter the United States pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification, subject to such conditions as the Secretary of State may impose, and any spouse and children of any such individual; or
(ix) any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.
Stephen Miller, the architect of the president's immigration agenda, told conservative allies that Trump’s decision to suspend family-based immigration due to the coronavirus is the start of a broader strategy to reduce the flow of foreigners into the U.S. https://t.co/xKpsGdQXNo
— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) April 25, 2020
— Michelle Hackman (@MHackman) April 22, 2020
President Trump's plan to suspend immigration into the U.S. will not apply to foreign farm workers https://t.co/5YYEwi9eTa
— POLITICO (@politico) April 21, 2020
CLARIFICATION: Please note that you must have an approved U.S. non-immigrant or immigrant visa petition (I-129, I-140, or similar) or a certificate of eligibility in an approved exchange visitor program (DS-2019) to apply. https://t.co/U9uVQ5tz6Q
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) March 27, 2020
I am told that Kenyan nurses and doctors are lining up at the US Embassy in Nairobi fighting to go to the US to help fight Covid 19.
Such departures at these times should be considered treason. #KaaNyumbani
— Robert Alai (@RobertAlai) March 28, 2020
The U.S. Mission wishes to clarify that the U.S. is not recruiting foreign medical professionals to assist in the COVID-19 response. Only individuals with an approved H or J petition will receive an emergency visa appointment. pic.twitter.com/Drj2U484of
— U.S. Mission Nigeria (@USEmbassyAbuja) March 27, 2020
Great outcome from our discussions with State Department, which will restart processing of J and H visa applications from medical professionals. An important first step, and we must address other significant obstacles for newly matched #IMGs. #SARSCoV2 https://t.co/pR5TPXRsjk
— William W. Pinsky, MD, FAAP, FACC (@ECFMGPrez) March 27, 2020
I’m told this tweet landed “poorly” @StateDept. US diplomats had no heads up. Visa services are supposed to be frozen. Calls from interested people are pouring in, so US citizens stuck abroad can’t get through. And it looks like the US is trying to steal other countries’ doctors. https://t.co/ilbic6pRaf
— Nahal Toosi (@nahaltoosi) March 27, 2020
QUESTION: Thank you very much. Say, Ian, I wanted to ask you a question about this doctor visas thing that you have on your web page. Are you moving medical professionals who can work on COVID-19 treatments basically to the front of the line or speeding up their processing or give them – giving them some sort of preference? And what would you say to people who say you’re essentially trying to poach people and you’re encouraging a brain drain? Thank you.
MR BROWNLEE: We had – excuse – thank you, Carol, for that question. We had some – I’ve got to confess maybe what we put up on the web page is not as clear as it might have been. We’re ready to work with people who are already accepted into existing U.S. programs and had otherwise planned to travel to the United States. We are not going out looking for others. These are people who were ready to come in. What we’ve done is around the world we have suspended routine visa services, but we are – we have not shut down visa services. We’ve suspended routine visa services, and our posts overseas are ready to work with applicants who are – who were already identified as being eligible for these visas. Does that answer your question?
QUESTION: My question is that – can I actually just follow up on Carol’s question about the visas with regards to the medical professionals? Thank you for the clarification, and I appreciate you saying the initial tweet maybe wasn’t clear enough. Can you – based on what you just said, can we just say now that there is actually an exception to medical professionals who already have their jobs secured but they need their visa to be processed? So can we say that State Department is actually processing those visas, because at the moment all other visas are suspended? And can you elaborate a little bit more on the motivation to process those visas over others? Thank you.
MR WALTERS: [MED CROSSING TO CA LANE]
Well, let me clarify one point. All other visas are not suspended. They are not suspended. We have suspended routine visa services so that we can concentrate our efforts on assisting U.S. citizens. But all other visa services are by no means suspended. So for example, adoption visas. We are still processing visas for U.S. couples who are adopting children overseas. In some cases where there are immigrant visas where an applicant would be at risk of aging out under the law, we are still processing those visas. What we’ve done is substantially reduced our – the provision of visa services.
But let me just – for the sake of absolute clarity, I will read you the – what we are saying about these student – excuse me, about these doctors. The Department of State stands ready to work with doctors and other medical professionals who are already accepted into existing U.S. programs and otherwise expected to travel to the United States to work or study. Even though routine visa services are suspended, the Department and our post services are working to serve the most urgent visa applicants as resources and local government restrictions allow. We encourage medical professionals who already have an approved U.S. visa petition or certificate of eligibility in an approved exchange visitor program, particularly those working to treat or mitigate the effects of COVID-19, to consult with the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to determine what services that post is currently able to provide. Over.
QUESTION: Hi there. I’m sorry, I’m still confused about this whole physician, medical professional visa thing. If in fact there’s no special treatment being given to them or you’re not specifically encouraging them, why did you put out this tweet or this statement that was also on the travel.state.gov? It wasn’t just a tweet. I don’t get it. It just seems to be – if there is no special treatment, it seems to be a bit tone deaf, considering this mad scramble that everyone else in the world is going through, and including in the U.S.
And then the other thing I’d just like to point out is for everyone else who got that fact sheet, which is great – thank you very much – but make sure you scroll down in the repatriation section, because you don’t see all of the countries at first, and I made that mistake just now. Anyway, thank you for doing this.
MR BROWNLEE: I’m sorry. Once again, I had mute pressed. Matt, I – what I said to myself here was I’m going to have to take the question as to how this all came to pass. But we are still processing visas around the world for certain cases. These are one, certain H-2As are another. But otherwise I’m happy to take that question. Thank you.
Updated: 5:30 PDT, March 18, 2020
— Diplopundit STAY HOME Pls (@Diplopundit) March 18, 2020
— Michael Beckel (@mjbeckel) February 14, 2020
Online romance scams led to $211 million in financial losses in 2018 alone. #BeSmartWithYourHeart and check out these resources for U.S. citizens involved in relationships with people living abroad. https://t.co/eoXlcyM8By https://t.co/BILXezFrm3 pic.twitter.com/D9VZwMEgAB
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) February 13, 2020
Does your partner/friend that you met online need help abroad? You can send funds to any U.S. citizen abroad through an OCS Trust—a secure mechanism to be sure that the person you are sending money to is a U.S. citizen. #BeSmartWithYourHeart https://t.co/mZURZoCsFD pic.twitter.com/Kilk3e73vO
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) February 12, 2020
Effective worldwide on 29 August, Nigerian citizens will be required to pay a visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, for all approved applications for nonimmigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications. The reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application. Nigerian citizens whose applications for a nonimmigrant visa are denied will not be charged the new reciprocity fee. Both reciprocity and MRV fees are non-refundable, and their amounts vary based on visa classification.
U.S. law requires U.S. visa fees and validity periods to be based on the treatment afforded to U.S. citizens by foreign governments, insofar as possible. Visa issuance fees are implemented under the principle of reciprocity: when a foreign government imposes additional visa fees on U.S. citizens, the United States will impose reciprocal fees on citizens of that country for similar types of visas. Nationals of a number of countries worldwide are currently required to pay this type of fee after their nonimmigrant visa application is approved.
The total cost for a U.S. citizen to obtain a visa to Nigeria is currently higher than the total cost for a Nigerian to obtain a comparable visa to the United States. The new reciprocity fee for Nigerian citizens is meant to eliminate that cost difference.
Since early 2018, the U.S. government has engaged the Nigerian government to request that the Nigerian government change the fees charged to U.S. citizens for certain visa categories. After eighteen months of review and consultations, the government of Nigeria has not changed its fee structure for U.S. citizen visa applicants, requiring the U.S. Department of State to enact new reciprocity fees in accordance with our visa laws.
The reciprocity fee will be required for all Nigerian citizens worldwide, regardless of where they are applying for a nonimmigrant visa to the United States. The reciprocity fee is required for each visa that is issued, which means both adults and minors whose visa applications are approved will be charged the reciprocity fee. The fee can only be paid at the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Consulate General. The reciprocity fee cannot be paid at banks or any other location.
REVISED VISA RECIPROCITY SCHEDULE FOR NIGERIA: The reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application. – https://t.co/JHzDYtNvww
— U.S. Mission Nigeria (@USEmbassyAbuja) August 27, 2019
— Quartz Africa (@qzafrica) August 29, 2019
— THISDAY LIVE (@THISDAYLIVE) August 30, 2019