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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawHow will Coronavirus Impact CR-1 and IR-1 Visa Processing?

How will Coronavirus Impact CR-1 and IR-1 Visa Processing?

Transcript of the above video:

In this video we are discussing the Coronavirus and the impact that it may or may not have on Immigrant Visas to the United States. I am specifically going to take this from the context of Immigrant Spouse Visas as we deal with a lot of those from here in Bangkok and we do deal with them in Cambodia and Laos as well as here in Thailand.

There recently was a proclamation and it can be found at It is the Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Non-immigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus.  Quoting directly: "I have determined that it is in the interest of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States as immigrants or non-immigrants of all aliens who were physically present within the People's Republic of China excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. I have also determined that the United States should take all necessary and appropriate measures to facilitate orderly medical screening and where appropriate, quarantine of persons allowed to enter the United States who may have been exposed to this virus." 

So clearly this is being taken quite seriously at the top levels of the United States policy making apparatus and the thing I think is wise to take away from this video is first of all it should be noted this it is not targeting nationality. Currently it is not even really looking specifically at any of the jurisdictions in Southeast Asia. What it is looking at is those specific individuals who have been physically present in China in a period of time preceding their application for a Visa or attempt to enter the United States and again the 14-day period is noted in this particular quotation, in this particular Proclamation because currently the conventional wisdom is that the Coronavirus takes approximately two weeks to incubate, for lack of better term. So for that reason, this two-week period has sort of been chosen as this cooling off period.  I suspect as a practical matter, the cooling off period for those who have physically been present in China will probably be longer but I definitely think what we will see is anybody, regardless of nationality, so you could have a Chinese national, for example, resident here in Thailand who hasn't back to China for 2 years for example, and they apply for a Visa to the United States, this Proclamation probably doesn't apply to them not withstanding their nationality. They haven't been in China where it is highly likely they could or I should say more likely they could have been infected. Meanwhile a Thai National for example who came back from Beijing 5 days ago, or Wuhan for that matter or something like this, those individuals are probably going to be looked at with a great deal more scrutiny and I think that this cooling off period for lack of better term that is created under this Proclamation, I think that that will probably, in fact I think it is fairly certain that it will be applied to an individual in such a factual set of circumstances and likely a 221-g refusal to issue a Visa will be issued and that individual will have to basically wait an interval of time before attempting to see that refusal reversed in order to ultimately see their visa be issued.

So the thing to take away from this video, at present Coronavirus is not directly impacting a lot of Visa applicants that I am seeing down here in Southeast Asia but that remains to be seen if that is going to remain to be the case moving forward. If things change we will certainly be updating folks on this channel.