Consular services in a dozen American embassies suspended indefinitely

Visa services at American embassies have been suspended following coronavirus outbreak. [Photo Nation]

All consular services including issuance of a visa and passport application in most American embassies across the world have been suspended due to COVID-19 outbreak.

A spokesperson for State Department on Wednesday while acknowledging that the directive will adversely affect scores seeking consular services maintained that the move has been informed by the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19.

“Embassies and consulates in these countries will cancel all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 18, 2020,” she said according to the Standard without naming the countries affected by this new directive.

US mission in Spain, South Korea, South Africa, Germany and other countries announced scaling down of services of shutting down entirely.

However, the State Department spokeswoman said emergency visa services to US citizens will be available across all of US embassies.

“These Embassies will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time,” she said.

Last week, the US embassy in Nairobi announced the suspension of consular services in the wake of several cases of coronavirus confirmed in Kenya.

“The @MOH_Kenya has suspended all public gatherings, meetings and events. All routine consular appointments from March 16-27 are canceled. In the case of a U.S. citizen in need of emergency assistance, please use the details provided here: |@CDCKenya,” the embassy tweeted.

The suspension of consular services across US embassies in the world will affect the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) which allows citizens from other countries to visit the US for a period of 90 days or less for tourism or business purposes without obtaining a visa.