Frequently Asked Questions About Visa Processing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The U.S. Embassies and Consulates in Brazil have compiled these frequently asked questions regarding visa services and travel to the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic.  We hope this information answers your questions.

We are unable to provide a specific date for when we will resume routine visa services.  Therefore it is possible that your current visa interview appointment may be cancelled.  You will be notified if your appointment is cancelled and given instructions on how to reschedule.  We anticipate prioritizing student visa applicants when we resume routine services.  In addition, not all interview locations may have appointments available at the same time. Continue to monitor this site and https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-br/niv for updates on our operating status and appointment availability.

The U.S. Mission to Brazil understands that many visa applicants have paid the visa application processing fee and are still waiting to schedule a visa appointment.  We are not able to refund your payment.  However, the validity of your payment has been extended until September 30, 2023, to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations an opportunity to schedule and/or attend a visa appointment with the already paid fee.

Information on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 testing requirement for all air travelers to the U.S. can be found at the Covid-19 Testing Required for U.S. Entry page at travel.gov.

Information regarding current travel restrictions can be found at travel.state.gov. The travel restrictions bar entry of most visa holders present in Brazil. Please note that the Presidential Proclamation does not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, most immediate family of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.

Returning students who already possess a valid F or M visa may travel to the United States without further action from the Embassy or Consulates in Brazil as long as their travel begins no more than 30 days prior to the start of classes. For more information about exceptions to the current travel restrictions, please see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/covid-19-travel-restrictions-and-exceptions.html.

Those who believe they qualify for a National Interest Exception may contact the Embassy or Consulate that issued your visa (for visa holders) or at the Embassy or Consulate where you intend to apply for a visa. Once we receive all requested documentation, National Interest Exception processing time takes approximately five days, though it may be longer in some cases:

If you have an urgent matter and need to travel immediately, please request an expedited appointment at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-br/niv, or contact us via email brazil_contactus+br+info+en@visaops.net, or by phone (https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-br/niv/information/contact_us) to request an emergency appointment.

Students with valid F or M visas and active SEVIS registrations are excepted from the current travel restrictions. Students who already possess a valid student (F or M) visa and active SEVIS registration may travel to the United States without further action from the Embassy or Consulates in Brazil. Direct travel to the United States from Brazil with a student visa may begin no more than 30 days prior to the start date of a student’s classes.  Student visa appointments are available at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil.

The Presidential Proclamations include the possibility of authorizing certain travel that meets criteria for a “National Interest Exception.”

See https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/covid-19-travel-restrictions-and-exceptions.html for details on the types of travel that may meet the criteria for a National Interest Exception.

Those who believe they qualify for a National Interest Exception may contact the Embassy or Consulate that issued your visa (for visa holders) or at the Embassy or Consulate where you intend to apply for a visa. Once we receive all requested documentation, National Interest Exception processing time takes approximately five days, though it may be longer in some cases:

Presidential Proclamation 10143 bars entry of most visa holders, who were physically present in Brazil for 14 days prior to their proposed entry in the U.S.  It does not restrict any specific nationalities.  We cannot issue visas to applicants based on an intention to quarantine in a third country. Applicants must qualify for a national interest exception or be exempt from Presidential Proclamation 10143 in order to be issued a visa in Brazil.

Please note that admission to the United States is administered by United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Please contact CBP for more information: https://www.cbp.gov/contact.

If you are applying as a Professor, Research Scholar, Short Term Scholar, Specialist, or Student  you may apply for a J visa by making a visa appointment.  Visa appointments for these categories of J-1 travelers are available at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil. For more information about J visas, and to make your appointment, please visit: https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-br/niv/information/niv.

You need not be concerned about a lack of an NIE annotation on your visa. There are many types of cases that will not receive an annotation, including those who have demonstrated that they are not subject to the Proclamation, those whose visas were issued prior to the Proclamation, and certain categories of visa holders who are eligible for blanket exceptions, including F-1 and M-1 students. NIEs are processed electronically and do not require any additional letters to airlines.

No.  These travelers are subject to the current travel restrictions.  We are not able to approve National Interest Exceptions for parents or responsible adults accompanying routine student travelers.