COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Presidential Proclamation 10052 expired on March 31. US embassies and consulates are now once again accepting applications for H-1B visas from individuals seeking to enter the US for the first time in that status, and a national interest exception (NIE) is no longer required for visa issuance under that proclamation. However, COVID-related travel restrictions still remain in place. Essentially, non-US citizens and permanent residents who have been physically present during the last 14 days in any country subject to the Department of State's COVID-related restrictions--including Brazil, China (except Hong Kong and Macau), Europe's Schengen area, Iran, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and South Africa--cannot travel directly to the US without a national interest exception. Individuals seeking to enter the US from these countries must continue to consult the Department of State's website for visa appointment wait times, consulate-specific procedures, and international travel updates. Expect continued delays and additional written justification letters surrounding travel from these countries.

Employee Selected for Administrative Processing

  • Please understand that there can be many reasons for a delay in visa issuance other than administrative processing. All applicants must fulfill multiple criteria to the satisfaction of the consular officer. The burden of proof lies with applicants to demonstrate that the documents presented are genuine and that they are eligible for the visa.
  • Please do not use outside channels to request political assistance. Unfortunately, congressional offices are often unable to help expedite visa issuance except in cases of extreme emergency, and even an interruption to patient care is not enough. The Department of State considers visa applications to be a matter of national security and will not circumvent the review process under any circumstances. Regardless, UAB (and the University of Alabama System) has a protocol for obtaining congressional assistance, and we must operate within that protocol. If you believe a situation is truly emergent, please contact UAB’s Senior International Officer.
  • ISSS cannot advise on HR issues about continuing pay and benefits for individuals selected for administrative processing other than to treat the individual as you would a US worker in a similar situation. Decisions about whether to place someone on unpaid leave, charge vacation days, etc. should be made at the departmental level in consultation with your HR professional. Similarly, if the individual selected for administrative processing is a student receiving a scholarship, student assistantship, or graduate assistantship please consult HR to determine next steps, if any.
  • If your student, employee, or visiting scholar is selected for administrative processing, notify ISSS immediately so that we can advise and provide additional guidance or a support letter as and when appropriate. We track these cases for trends, etc. The Department of State will not entertain inquiries until at least 30 days have passed, and harassing them can result in additional delay.