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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawHow Will Coronavirus Impact a US Tourist Visa Application?

How Will Coronavirus Impact a US Tourist Visa Application?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the Coronavirus and specifically in the context of a US Tourist Visa, an application for a US Tourist Visa from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos presumably Vietnam, Malaysia any of these places outside of China. How is it going to impact those who are looking to get a Tourist Visa to the United States? How is this Coronavirus having an impact on that overall process?

In a recent Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Non-immigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus. That is from whitehouse.gov, 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." 

The thing to take away from this video is this is not targeted at specific nationals of any country so even Chinese Nationals, this policy is not out there designed to target them. Nor is it designed to specifically target any other countries down here in Southeast Asia. Who it is designed to deal with is folks that have been physically present in China prior to applying for a Visa or attempting to enter the United States. For example a Chinese National that is regularly resident in Thailand, that has been in Thailand for a year and hasn't returned to China, that individual may apply for a Visa to the United States and this issue may not come up because they haven't been in China and that is where this Coronavirus sort of her lack of better term and I hate to use hyperbole here, but that is where Ground Zero is for where this virus originated and the transmission and where we are seeing a large number of infections, is in China. So that Chinese National in that hypothetical set of circumstances here in Thailand who has not been back to China in a year is probably not going to be impacted by this. Conversely, if you have a Thai National who just returned from China and they are trying to apply for US Tourist Visa from Thailand, I think that individual may be directly impacted by this recent Proclamation because they have been over there and notwithstanding that their nationality is not Chinese, the issue is whether or not they pose a risk with respect to transmission of the Coronavirus. 

So the thing to take away from this video is it is not really nationality centric, it is not even really geographically centric insofar as it has anything to do with Southeast Asia, at least at the time of this video. It more has to do with people who pose a risk of spreading it and those who have been in China whether Chinese or not, may have issues with respect to applying for a US Tourist Visa. In the event that you have got an individual who has previously been in China and they are trying to apply for a US Tourist Visa, I think the result will likely be what is called a 221g refusal wherein they refuse the Visa and then this sort of cooling off period happens. They basically wait around for 2 weeks and 2 weeks is not an arbitrary number. To the best of my knowledge that is the period of time they believe it takes for this virus to fully incubate and therefore show symptoms that we can see so they are wanting to make sure that this period of time has elapsed so they can be sure that an individual is not highly at risk of transmitting this particular disease. Basically at the end of the day they are looking to make sure that that person is not going to bring the virus into the United States and regardless of their nationality so long as this period of time has elapsed, I think it is going to be likely that that 221g refusal may be reversed, the Visa may be issued after a period of time has gone by wherein the Adjudicating Consular Officer can feel comfortable that the person at issue does not pose a risk of transmitting the virus further in the United States. 

That being stated, how exactly this plays out in the future remains to be seen. If there are further major developments on this topic will go ahead and make more videos and post them to this channel.