U.S. Visa and Travel FAQs for non-U.S. citizens following the COVID-19 pandemic

Please make sure that you read the information below, and then navigate to the Nonimmigrant Visa, Immigrant Visa or Fiancé(e) visa specific information section as appropriate to find more information that is relevant to your circumstances.  For details regarding the Presidential Proclamations referenced below (including exceptions to the proclamations) please visit travel.state.gov U.S. Visa News: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news.html


Travel to the U.S. for foreign citizens

Entry of foreign nationals who were physically present within the following list of countries within 14 days prior to their entry or attempted entry into the United States is suspended, per Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993, 9996 and 10041:

Brazil;

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe;

The Republic of Ireland;

The 26 countries that comprise the Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland)

The Islamic Republic of Iran;

The People’s Republic of China, not including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau

Please click here to review Presidential Proclamation 9993 in full for detailed information.

The travel restriction does not apply to American citizens, legal permanent residents, most immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in Presidential Proclamation 9993. The Department of Homeland Security will direct those who have been in the Schengen Area who are exempt from these restrictions, including American citizens, to travel through select airports where the U.S. Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures. Travelers are advised to visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website and the guidance at travel.state.gov for information on U.S. travel restrictions and possible exceptions.

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.

Travel to the United States from a country that is not covered by the Presidential Proclamation may be possible, but we advise you to verify whether the country to which you intend to travel has implemented travel or other restrictions before you make travel arrangements.  One possible source of such information is travel.state.gov which contains links to the websites of other countries’ immigration authorities.

We are not able to suggest countries to which you may travel, or comment on the travel regulations that apply to a country other than the United States or the Netherlands.

Please also bear in mind the following:

  • The Presidential Proclamation suspends travel to the U.S. for any individual who has been physically present in the Netherlands within 14 days prior to their arrival in the United States.
  • The suspension also applies to traveling through a U.S. airport.
  • Transiting a country covered by the Presidential Proclamation, even without exiting the airport, counts as physical presence within that country. If you have a connecting flight through Schiphol airport, you will be subject to the Proclamation.

If you believe that the travel restriction does not apply to you, we suggest that you contact your airline for the latest information about your travel plans and any restrictions.

Information about the status of ESTA registrations at this time is provided through the only official ESTA website. If your ESTA was cancelled but you believe that you fall under one of the exceptions identified in Presidential Proclamation 9993, please refer to the Travel Proclamation Help on the ESTA website for guidance.

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.

If you travel, please follow the steps below:

  • Do not attempt to check in for your flight online if you have an ESTA registration.
  • Arrive early for your flight.
  • Carry any documentation that you believe demonstrates why you have been exempted from a travel restriction, such as a Permanent Resident card (commonly known as a Green Card), a marriage certificate, or a birth certificate, so that it is available if it is requested for review.
  • You may also wish to carry a copy of the Presidential Proclamation itself.
  • Your status will be reviewed in consultation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials.
  • If applicable in your case, your ESTA will be reinstated to allow you to board. Finally, please note that the U.S. Consulate General cannot provide an official letter stating that you are exempted from a travel restriction.

If you believe that the restrictions do not apply to you but you need to apply for a visa, please see https://nl.usembassy.gov/visas/ for information on how to proceed.

If you do not fall under one of the exemptions to Presidential Proclamation but you have a humanitarian need for travel, such as for critical medical treatment, or you think you may qualify for another possible exception, including a national interest exeption, please click here to contact us. Please briefly outline your reason for travel, and state whether you currently have a valid visa, a valid ESTA or neither.

Please note, 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.

The Presidential Proclamations do not include an exception on the basis of negative test results. Please review each Proclamation in full for details of possible exemptions.

You may book an appointment to apply for a visa. Please refer to our website for step-by-step information about the application process.

Once you have booked an interview date through the calendar in your Visa Appointment Service account, you can then use the ‘Request Expedite’ feature. You will be asked to briefly outline the reason that you must travel in an emergency. The Nonimmigrant Visa Unit will review your request and reply by email.

Please note, appointment availability is extremely limited and we cannot guarantee that an expedited appointment will be available for you. Expedite requests are generally approved only when there is a humanitarian need for travel, such as for critical medical treatment. Please also be aware that an expedite request relates only to the date of the visa interview. No expedited visa processing is available.

You do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel to the United States if the following three statements apply to you:

  1. You hold a valid F-1 or M-1 visa;
  2. are traveling from the UK, Ireland, or the Schengen Area, and
  3. have not been physically present in Brazil, Iran, or China within the last 14 days,

If your visa is still valid and you intend to begin resume your studies or undertake Optional Practical Training (OPT), you can travel directly to a United States Port of Entry to apply for admission. This also applies to F-2 and M-2 derivative visa holders. Admission to the United States is a matter for CBP officials at the U.S. Port of Entry and all travelers are subject to questioning. No assurances are given in advance.

If you have a valid visa and you will be traveling to undertake OPT, you should carry your annotated Form I-20 and your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in addition to your valid visa and valid passport.

Please review the CDC website if you have questions about quarantine regulations.

We strongly recommend that all current and prospective F-1 and M-1 students and study abroad advisers review the comprehensive Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) FAQ. This includes important new information about full course of study requirements and online learning, Form I-20, employment, and the SEVIS fee.

The regulation regarding entry via one of 15 airports with enhanced screening has been lifted.  You may fly directly into any U.S. airport at this time.

All travelers, including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, who have been in the Schengen Area or any CDC Level 3 country, in the last 14 days must comply with local quarantine requirements for the state they are visiting.  For information regarding returning to the United States from an affected area please consult https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/presidential-proclamation–travel-from-europe.html as well as the Center for Disease Control website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html. Please check the state health department website of the state you plan to visit for further information on local quarantine and other entry requirements: https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/healthdepartments.html


Travel to the U.S. for prospective immigrants

Under Presidential Proclamation 10014, signed on April 22 and extended by PP 10052 on June 22, the Department of State will not issue immigrant visas, with certain exceptions, through December 31, 2020. Exceptions include lawful permanent residents; immigrants seeking to enter as healthcare professionals; spouses, children, and prospective adoptive children of U.S. citizens; and certain Special Immigrant Visa applicants. Please read Presidential Proclamation 10052 for detailed information.

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. No valid visas will be revoked under this Proclamation.

Additionally, please be aware that due to the impact of COVID-19, all routine immigrant visa appointments have been cancelled until further notice. If normal operations resume while this Presidential Proclamation remains in effect, it will not be possible for a visa appointment to be scheduled unless you are applying for a category of visa that is exempted  under the proclamation.

If you are applying for an immigrant visa and the case is being processed by NVC, please click here and visit your CEAC account (if applicable) for information. Please contact NVC directly using the online contact form on that website if you still have questions. The Consulate cannot answer any questions about NVC cases, including any questions about expedite options or about appointments.

If you are applying for a visa as the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen (IR-1, CR-1, IR-2 or CR-2) or for an E-3 visa and your case is with the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam, please contact us to check whether it is possible to proceed with your visa application on an emergency basis. Please provide the full names of the visa applicant(s) and the petitioner, plus the case number (typically LND followed by ten digits)

If you are applying for an immigrant visa in a category other than IR-1, CR-1, IR-2 or CR-2 (i.e. you are not applying for a visa as the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen) and you have been advised that your case file has been forwarded to the U.S. Consulate General Amsterdam, you may refer to our website for an overview of the application procedure and begin compiling the necessary supporting documents. You may book a medical appointment and proceed with the application process after normal Embassy operations have resumed. Please monitor our website for updates. Applicants are typically given 12 months in which to apply for the visa, starting from the date on which the Embassy’s Immigrant Visa Unit writes to them with instructions about the status of their case.

It is not possible to apply for a Permanent Resident Card (commonly known as a “Green Card”) from outside the U.S. If an individual travels to a U.S. Port of Entry as the holder of a valid immigrant visa and they are admitted to the U.S. as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), they are given the forms necessary to apply for a Permanent Resident Card at that time.

When an immigrant visa holder is admitted as an LPR at a U.S. Port of Entry, their passport is stamped with the words “Processed for I-551 temporary evidence of lawful residence” which helps facilitate overseas travel while they are waiting for the Permanent Resident Card to be processed.

Any individual who has been issued with an immigrant visa but who has not been admitted to the United States using that visa is considered an immigrant visa holder, not an LPR. If you hold a valid immigrant visa, please review the information about PP 9993 in the General Information section near the top of these FAQs.

Immigrant visa petitions are filed with and approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States, not with Embassies or Consulates abroad. This is why we can’t check the status of a petition for you or give guidance about filing a petition. Please check the USCIS website for the information you need:

You can check the status of a petition using the USCIS case status checker.

If the petition has not yet been approved and the applicant’s address changed after the petition was filed, click here to provide USCIS with the applicant’s new address.

If you have petition filing or status questions after checking the USCIS website, please contact USCIS directly using contact details provided on that website

Immigrant visas cannot be extended. However, if you are unable to travel within the validity period of your visa due to circumstances beyond your control, you can request visa reissuance.

If you were issued with an E-3 visa or with a IR-1, CR-1, IR-2 or CR-2 visa as the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen that has now expired and you wish to move to the United States urgently, please contact the Immigrant Visa Unit to check whether it is possible for your visa to be reissued on an emergency basis. Please provide the full names of the visa applicant(s) and the petitioner, plus the case number (typically LND followed by ten digits). The Immigrant Visa Unit will advise you at that time whether it is possible for your visa to be reissued and, if so, whether a new medical will be required. Please be aware that the extension of a medical report is only possible in certain limited circumstances, and that it can only be considered in the context of visa issuance or reissuance.

If you were issued with a different category of immigrant visa (not an IR-1, IR-2, CR-1, CR-2 or E-3 visa), it is not possible for your visa to be reissued at this time. Please keep checking our website for further updates. After normal visa operations have resumed and your unused visa has expired, please contact the Immigrant Visa Unit at that time to request visa reissuance. The Immigrant Visa Unit will advise you at that time whether it is possible for your visa to be reissued and, if so, whether a new medical will be required. Please be aware that the extension of a medical report is assessed on a case by case basis by the Immigration Visa Unit at the time of visa issuance or reissuance.

As explained above, the travel restriction (PP 9993) does not apply to legal permanent residents.

If you are not in possession of your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) and wish to travel to the United States, you may apply for a Transportation Boarding foil in order to facilitate boarding by the airline to transport you back to the U.S. Please see our website for information about how to apply for a Transportation Boarding Foil.

As you may be aware, if a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) remains outside the U.S. for more than 12 months (or beyond the validity period of a Reentry Permit obtained prior to departing the United States), they lose their entitlement to LPR status. Information about travel and maintaining permanent resident status is provided through the USCIS website.

Fiancé(e) visa petitions are filed with and approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States, not with Embassies or Consulates abroad. This is why we can’t check the status of a petition for you or give guidance about filing a petition. Please check the USCIS website for the information you need:

You can check the status of a petition using the USCIS case status checker.

If the petition has not yet been approved and the applicant’s address changed after the petition was filed, click here to provide USCIS with the applicant’s new address.

If you have petition filing or status questions after checking the USCIS website, please contact USCIS directly using contact details provided on that website.

The Department of State suspended routine visa services worldwide in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As global conditions evolve, U.S. Embassies and Consulates are beginning a phased resumption of routine visa services. The resumption of routine visa services will occur on a post-by-post basis, in coordination with the Department’s Diplomacy Strong framework for safely returning our workforce to Department facilities. U.S. Embassies and Consulates have continued to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services since March and will continue to do so as they are able. As post-specific conditions improve, our missions will begin providing additional services, culminating eventually in a complete resumption of routine visa services.

We are only able to process visas for spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens (IR-1, CR-1, IR-2 or CR-2). We are not currently able to issue or reissue any fiancé(e) (K-1) visas. This is why it is not possible for you to proceed with your visa application at this time.

We are unable to provide a specific date for when the U.S. Consulate General Amsterdam will resume K-1 visa services, or when the U.S. Consulate General Amsterdam will return to processing at pre-COVID workload levels, but please be assured that we will resume K-1 visa services as soon as possible while complying with operational and travel regulations and restrictions. This is why we urge you to keep checking this website regularly for the latest information about the Consulate’s operating status and any further updates.

If you were contacted with your case number and application instructions before March 20, 2020, you can use this time to collect the supporting documents that will be needed for your visa interview. However, you should not attempt to book a medical examination or visa interview date yet because it is not currently possible for K-1 visas to be processed or issued. Please continue to check this webpage as we will update it as soon as it is possible for you to resume the application process by booking a medical and a visa interview date.

If your petition has been approved but you have not yet received your case number and application instructions, you will be contacted with that information when it is possible for you to begin to the visa application process. You can check our website to help you prepare for the next steps and you can begin collecting the supporting documents you will need. However, you should not try to book a medical examination or visa interview yet. Please continue to check this webpage for updates.

Applicants are given 12 months from the date on which the Consulate’s Immigrant Visa Unit writes to them with their case number and application instructions.

​You do not need to be concerned if the petition in your name expires while you are waiting for K-1 visa services to resume. This is because you can revalidate the petition with a letter from the petitioner stating that you both remain legally free to marry and that you will do so within 90 days of your arrival in the United States. You should take the letter with you to your visa interview in the future, not mail it or email it to the Consulate now.

Although K-1 visa holders are not subject to Presidential Proclamation 10014, they are not exempted  from Presidential Proclamation 9993.  This means that while Presidential Proclamation 9993 remains in effect, it will not be possible for you to travel directly to the United States from the Netherlands unless you fall under another exempted  category within the Presidential Proclamation. Please read Presidential Proclamation 9993 for detailed information.

Travel to the United States from a third country that is not covered by the Presidential Proclamation may be possible, but we advise you to verify if the country to which you intend to travel has implemented travel or other restrictions prior to making travel arrangements.  Please also bear in mind that the Presidential Proclamation suspends travel to the U.S. for any individual who has been physically present in the Schengen area within 14 days prior to their arrival in the United States.

Please review the visa in your passport and bear the visa expiration date in mind when considering your travel plans, as you would be required to show a valid visa on the day that you arrive at a U.S. Port of Entry. If your visa has expired or you will be unable to complete your travel before your visa expires, please see below for information about visa reissuance.

K-1 Fiancé(e) visa petitions that have expired can be extended in certain circumstances.  The I-129F petition is valid for four months from the date of approval by USCIS. A consular officer can extend the validity of the petition if it expires before visa processing is completed. Once normal operations have resumed you will be contacted to continue processing your K-1 visa case.

If your K-1 visa has already been issued but you are unable to travel within the validity period of your visa due to circumstances beyond your control, you may be able to request visa reissuance once the Consulate resumes K-1 visa services. It is not possible for K-1 visas to be reissued at this time. Please keep checking this webpage for further updates. After normal operations have resumed and your unused visa has expired, please contact the Immigrant Visa Unit at that time to request visa reissuance. We will send you information about how to submit your passport, visa package (if applicable) and a letter explaining why you were unable to travel and requesting visa reissuance. The Immigrant Visa Unit will advise you at that time whether it is possible for your visa to be reissued and, if so, whether a new medical will be required. Please be aware that the extension of a medical report is assessed on a case by case basis by the Immigration Visa Unit at the time of visa issuance or reissuance.