76 Percent of US Consulates are Fully or Partially Closed

As of April 8, 2021, 76 percent of US consulates are fully or partially closed, even though all travelers to the US must receive negative COVID-19 tests, a report from the CATO institute revealed recently. The failure of the Biden Administration to reopen US consulates is undoubtedly negatively impacting the US’ economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by impeding the issuance of many non-immigrant visas. Biden should reopen all US consulates immediately.

As of April 8, 2021, just 57 of 237 visa processing sites around the world (24 percent) were fully operational for nonimmigrant visa applicants, and just 97 (41 percent) allowed anything other than emergency applications (Table 1). Even many open sites have massive wait times for visas. The average wait was 95 days for a visitor or business traveler visa, but 31 percent of sites open for those visas had waits longer than 4 months, and 22 percent had waits longer than 6 months,” reported David Bier.

Using figures for the month of April 2019, more than half a million (574,704) nonimmigrant visas are likely affected by the closures in April 2021, including 471,348 visitor and business traveler visas, 39,875 student and exchange visitor visas, and 63,481 visas for diplomats, workers, and others,” he revealed.

According to Bier, consulate closures have also contributed to the development of a backlog of more than 473,000 documentarily qualified family-based immigrant visa applicants.

As the US continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, it will undoubtedly benefit from welcoming people (that test negative for COVID) from abroad who are looking to visit the US legally, whether it be for tourism, business, school, or needed employment. The Biden Administration should reopen all US consulates and end travel its bans on Europe, Brazil, and South Africa.

 

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