As you may have heard, technical problems with the U.S. Department of State's (DOS) Consular Consolidated Database (CCD), a system critical to visa issuance operations, are causing widespread delays in visa issuance worldwide.
If you have already applied for a nonimmigrant visa abroad and the system failures are causing a delay in processing, then you may be able to get travel authorization before the visa is officially approved.
To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must have an emergency that creates an urgent need for you to travel to the U.S. An "emergency" includes a need for urgent humanitarian travel or for travel due to a life and death situation. Upcoming business engagements and U.S. employment needs are not typically considered emergencies. They may, however, be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- You must have a pending visa application with DOS, and the visa must be issuable but for CCD system problems. If you have been issued a 221(g) notice indicating pending administrative processing on your visa application, then you will not be eligible for travel.
To request permission for emergency travel, you should provide proof to DOS that your circumstances qualify as an emergency. This can be done via email or during the visa interview, if one is pending.
If you are granted permission to travel, then the consular post that accepted the visa application will release your passport and will issue a transportation letter, which can be presented to common carriers to allow boarding of international U.S.-bound flights. Upon arrival to a U.S. port of entry and presentation of the transportation letter, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) will execute an I-193 application to waive the nonimmigrant visa requirement for admission. This will include waiving the $585 processing fee for the I-193.
If you require assistance in requesting authorization for emergency travel, please contact us at TheTeam@huwelaw.com, or at 415-496-9040 or 650-691-8370.