We are starting to get increased inquiries from clients regarding booking international travel given the international impact of the Coronavirus. We have already reported on the cessation of flights from mainland China to the U.S. (and the cancellation of visa appointments at many U.S. consulates in China), and we have seen in recent days that the U.S. State Department has changed travel advisories to various countries, including Italy, South Korea, and Iran. This outbreak has the potential to cause the cancellation of flights and the closure of consular posts without much, if any warning. We would hate for any client to be inconvenienced, or stranded waiting for a visa to be issued, as a result of the lack of services.
We are recommending that individuals who need a visa to be issued on their next international travel to ensure they consult the consular website for the latest information about possible closure and to consult the travel advisory for that country. If we were to use an example, if a client had planned travel to Italy and was also seeking a visa issuance, since the State Department is recommending Americans postpone all non-essential travel, clients should also assume that consular operations may be affected soon thereafter as the State Department does its best to protect its staff.
Individuals with current visas should also still exercise caution in traveling and pay attention to State Department and other travel warnings.
Please travel cautiously during this time and check consular availability. We will provide updates on things we hear, but often in these cases change happens quicker than we can report to clients – so please be smart and keep your ear to the ground, and be safe!
** This newsletter/memo is provided for informational and discussion purposes only. It does not act as a substitute for direct legal contact on an individual basis **