Consular COVID FAQ

We understand your concern about visas and travel in light of the continuing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We hope that this information will help answer your questions.

Due to the volume of inquiries we receive, we are only able to respond to individual questions that are not answered on this page or elsewhere on our website.

General Information

 

[NEW] I have an urgent need to travel.  Can I make a request for an appointment?

You may request an emergency appointment by sending an email to ConsularMinsk@state.gov, with an explanation of the purpose of your trip, the reason for urgency, and your expected travel dates.  Please note that we have a very small number of such appointments available.  Eligibility for an emergency appointment does not guarantee you will be issued a visa.

[NEW] I’ve been accepted into a school in the United States.  How can I apply for a student visa?

Right now, due to our reduced operations, we are not accepting appointments for student visas.  As the global health situation returns to normal, we plan to resume scheduling appointments for students who have been accepted into schools in the United States.  We are unable to provide a specific date for when the U.S. Embassy in Minsk will resume student visa services.  Please keep checking the Embassy webpage for information regarding operating status and any further updates.

[NEW] How can Belarusians with valid visas travel to the United States?

We encourage you to visit travel.state.gov for guidance on travel.  It is still possible to travel to the United States with a valid visa, but travelers will need to avoid any countries or airports that may be impacted by current restrictions.  We encourage you to contact your air carrier regarding your travel plans.

[NEW] How can Green card holders can fly to United States?

Green card holders can travel to the United States.  Our embassy website has information about travel for legal permanent residents.  We also encourage you to contact your air carrier regarding your travel plans.

[NEW] Do you need a COVID-negative test result to fly to the United States?

At this time, you do not need a COVID-negative test to fly to the United States.

[NEW] Do I need to self-quarantine when I arrive in the United States?

The Department of State recommends the CDC website for the most up-to-date information regarding quarantine regulations.

[NEW] Do Americans need to self-quarantine when they arrive in Belarus?

Currently, Americans do not need to self-quarantine upon arrival in Belarus.

[NEW] Is the U.S. Embassy in Minsk closed?  

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 unable to provide a specific date for when the U.S. Embassy in Minsk will resume routine visa services.  Please keep checking this webpage for information regarding operating status and any further updates.

Can I travel to the United States?

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 the subsequent proclamation issued May 24, 2020:

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 9996 in full for detailed information.

The travel restriction does not apply to American citizens, legal permanent residents, certain immediate family members of U.S. citizens (spouses and minor children), and other individuals who are identified in Presidential Proclamation 9996. 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 for further guidance on U.S. travel restrictions.

Can I travel to the United States through a country that is not covered by Presidential Proclamation 9996?

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 Belarus.

Please also bear in mind the following:

Transiting a country covered by the Presidential Proclamation, even without exiting the airport, counts as physical presence within that country.

I believe the travel restrictions of Presidential Proclamation 9996 do NOT apply to me, and I have a valid nonimmigrant, immigrant or fiancé(e) visa. What should I do?

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.

If I can provide a negative COVID-19 test result, can I enter the United States?

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.

I’m in the United States and I’m worried about overstaying my authorized period of admission. What should I do?

If you are in the United States, please visit the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for information about how to apply to extend your stay. While you are in the United States, any questions about your status are a matter for USCIS, not the Embassy. Information and contact details can be found on the USCIS website.

Specific Information for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants and Nonimmigrant Visa Holders

What does Presidential Proclamation 10052 refer to?

On Monday, June 22, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending entry into the United States of certain immigrants and nonimmigrants who present a risk to the U.S. labor market following the coronavirus outbreak. Effective immediately, the proclamation extends the suspension of entry for certain immigrants (Presidential Proclamation 10014) through December 31, 2020. The new restrictions imposed by the proclamation are effective at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 24 and expire on December 31, 2020, unless continued by the President.

U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and aliens who are or were inside the United States or those holding valid nonimmigrant or immigrant visas on the effective date are not subject to the proclamation.

The proclamation suspends entry of nonimmigrants in the following categories: H-1B, H-2B, J (for aliens participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program) and L, along with their spouses and children. No valid visas will be revoked under the proclamation.

Please read Presidential Proclamation 10052 in full for details, including exceptions.

Please also note that routine visa services at Embassy Minsk remain suspended at this time, and Presidential Proclamation 9996 remains in effect.

 

I believe the travel restrictions of Presidential Proclamation 9996 do NOT apply to me, and I need to apply for a nonimmigrant visa. What should I do?

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

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.

[NEW] I have a valid student visa (F-1 or M-1). Can I travel to the United States?

Students with valid visas can travel through or from the Schengen Area, the UK, and Ireland with valid F-1 and M-1 visas.  Students do not need to seek a national interest exception to travel.

I am a student and I need to get my visa in time for the fall semester. What can I do?

Unfortunately, due to the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we are not currently processing routine visa applications and cannot expedite appointments for student visas.

We are taking the issue of student visas seriously and are seeking ways to ensure that our aspiring and returning students will receive priority attention once routine visa operations can resume. However, at this time, we are unable to predict when this may be.

We will publicize any announcement on the resumption of student visa interviews once information is available, so please keep checking this page for the latest updates.

My university is going to have online courses in the fall. Will this affect my status as an F-1/M-1 student?

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, F and M students may temporarily count online classes toward a full course of study. As such, online courses will not impact student status at this time.

We 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 current information about full course of study requirements and online learning, Form I-20, employment, and the SEVIS fee.

Can my nonimmigrant visa be extended?

Nonimmigrant visas cannot be extended. Please check the visa in your passport to confirm the validity period of the visa in your case.

If you are currently in the United States, please be aware that the expiration date of your visa has no bearing on your length of stay in the United States. Please check the stamp in your passport applied by officials at the U.S. Port of Entry for information about your authorized period of stay. Please contact USCIS for information about how to apply to extend your stay. Contact details can be found on their website.

Any other questions

 

If you have general questions about coronavirus (COVID-19), check our website  for a list of useful resources.

If you have question about flights, please contact your airline.

Information about travel restrictions

Entry of foreign nationals who were physically present within the following list of countries within 14 days preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is suspended, per Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993, 9996 and the subsequent proclamation issued May 24, 2020:

  • Brazil (effective May 26 at 11:59 p.m. EDT)
  • 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.

There are certain exceptions to the suspension of entry, including exceptions for U.S. lawful permanent residents and certain family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, among other exceptions listed in the proclamations. If you reside in, have traveled recently to, or intend to transit or travel to the above list of countries prior to your planned trip to the United States, we recommend you postpone your visa interview appointment until 14 days subsequent to your departure from the subject country(ries). For a complete list of the exceptions, please access the fact sheet about the proclamation.

 

Information about protecting the U.S. labor market

On April 22, 2020, 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 became effective at 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 23, 2020.  Pursuant to a subsequent proclamation signed on June 22, 2020, the April 22, 2020 suspension was extended until December 31, 2020. U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and those holding valid immigrant visas on the effective date of the April 22, 2020 are not subject to the proclamation.  No valid visas will be revoked under this proclamation.  The U.S. Embassy in Minsk has suspended routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments, but as resources allow, we will continue to provide limited emergency and mission critical visa services for applicants who are not subject to this presidential proclamation.

Please check the full text of the presidential proclamations on the White House website:   Proclamation issued on April 22, 2020 and Proclamation issued on June 22, 2020.